Nick Barese Named Baseball Coach at Merrimack

Nick Barese

History major Nick Barese ’08 was recently named head coach of Merrimack College’s baseball team. One Thing after Another recently caught up with Nick and asked him about his time at St. Anselm College, baseball, coaching, and Italy.

Q: Why did you decide to come to Saint Anselm College?

A: I was fortunate enough as a sophomore in high school to have a brother at Saint Anselm College. He played football, so I would spend most of my Saturdays at his games and on campus with my family. I knew early on I loved the campus environment, and after hearing him talk about the academic and athletic experiences, I was intrigued. It also helped my decision when the football and baseball programs began to recruit me. The “moment” when I decided I wanted to go to St. A’s was at a spring baseball doubleheader. The team was in the middle of a 12-game winning streak, and they won both games that day. I waited until after the games ended and told the coach right then and there that I wanted to go to school at Saint A’s.

Q: You played both football and baseball at Saint Anselm College. Did you find playing two sports particularly difficult? If so, how did you manage?

A: It was difficult from an athletic standpoint. I always felt as though I was missing out on part of the experience with each team. I did not participate in off-season workouts for one squad because I was always playing the other sport. I know bonds and camradery with teammates are built during the off-season, and I wanted to be a part of that dynamic.

Academically, though, it gave me structure. Knowing I would be busy athletically year round, I had to become skilled with time management. Of course, there were tough days, but I value the experience I had playing two sports. I always felt very fortunate to have that opportunity.

Q: What is the normal route by which somebody becomes a head baseball coach at a college? Is that the route you took?

A: I think of my route as pretty conventional. I was incredibly lucky after I finished playing in 2009 because Coach Rosen offered me a volunteer spot on his coaching staff. This opportunity allowed me to get my foot in the door. Before that point, as a player during my sophomore year, I had injured my shoulder and was out the whole season. As a result, I developed a great relationship with an assistant coach at the time, Jim Martin. He left to take an assistant job at Southern Connecticut State University in 2007, but when he became the head coach at Merrimack College in 2010 and asked me to join his coaching staff, I knew it was a great opportunity.

Q: As a coach, do you ever find yourself using the liberal arts skills that you learned as a student?

A: Absolutely. The skills I learned in the humanities program and many of my liberal arts classes are invaluable as a coach. Being able to communicate effectively to a group is a daily part of my life as a coach. Another component of my education that I still use is supporting my thoughts with evidence. When I want to convey a specific message to my team, I feel confident in my ability to explain why something is done a certain way. It also relates directly to the recruiting process. Speaking effectively with prospective players and their families is essential to building a program.

Q: According to your Merrimack biography, you played professional baseball in Italy for the Rangers Redipuglia Baseball Club. What was that like? Are there any striking differences between American and Italian baseball?

A: It was an incredible few months. There were almost no English-speaking people in the organization, so communication was tough initially. I lived in a very small town and rode a bike everywhere. Something as small as going grocery shopping and using euros was a struggle at first. Culturally, I was totally out of my comfort zone. But there were so many positives. I remember waking up one morning and spontaneously deciding to hop on a train to see Venice. That was an experience unlike any other.

It was also different handling adversity. If I did not play well during a game, the comforts of my friends and family were hard to come by. I grew up just an hour or so from St. A’s, so my parents found a way to make nearly every game during my four years at school. Not seeing them at my games in Italy definitely had an impact. I found out a lot about myself and really came to appreciate my time there. I think I grew up more during those three months than the previous 22 years of my life.

With regard to baseball, there were subtle differences, but the structure of the game was very similar. The one major difference was the meals during trips. I was used to having a sandwich or maybe a hamburger in the middle of a doubleheader. In Italy, we had pasta, prosciutto, espresso, and things like that. When we were traveling and staying in hotels, breakfast was very light. Players would have a croissant, or a pastry; meanwhile, I was craving bacon and eggs. It was different, but very enjoyable.

Loftus Helps Guide the NYU Bobcats on the Court

Loftus Coaching

When History major Cassie Loftus ’08 attended Saint Anselm College, she played for the women’s basketball squad, becoming team captain during her junior and senior years. After leaving Saint Anselm College, Loftus served as an assistant coach at both Springfield College and Williams College. She is now the assistant coach for the New York University women’s basketball team. One Thing after Another recently asked Loftus to share what she was up to.

Q: How and why did you decide to become a history major?

A: I started as a Journalism major and then changed to Political Science. It didn’t take long for me to realize that I love the study of politics. I’m fascinated with the people who participate in politics, and I enjoy the media buzz that surrounds them. But I also enjoyed the structure of History classes; there was discussion and a constant exchange of ideas that I didn’t necessarily get in math or sciences classes.

Q: Why did you transfer from Brandeis to St. A’s?

A: In my initial college search, I wanted to find a place where I could immerse myself in an athletic as well as an academic experience. While I appreciated the opportunity to be at such a great academic institution like Brandeis, I didn’t feel as though I could get the experience I was looking for. I do not believe I made a mistake, though. I learned a lot about humility, balance in life, and how to have the courage to be happy. I still have a great relationship with friends and coaches at Brandeis, but I just knew it wasn’t the best fit for me. I am so thankful for that one year because it helped me decipher so much about the collegiate experience I really wanted.

Q: When did you decide that you wanted to coach basketball? How did you go about placing yourself on a career path that led to coaching collegiate women’s basketball?

A: I didn’t realize I wanted to be a basketball coach until my junior year of college. I had always considered myself a student of the game because, believe it or not, I was undersized, a step slow, and had to really work hard to make an impact on my team. I was lucky to have some excellent coaches throughout my career and wanted to help shape others experiences the same way they helped me. Young women need positive role models who are strong in body, mind, and spirit, and I hope that every day I can be that for the young women who play for our program. There is no direct path into coaching, and it is pretty hard to get your foot in the door. Lucky for me, I had somebody take a chance who saw my potential and that I was willing to work hard to gain experience. My coach from Brandeis actually hooked me up with one of her coaching colleagues at Springfield College . . . and the rest is history!

Q: The great majority of our majors go into fields that have nothing to do with history. Yet many seem to find their study of history useful to their careers. Has that been the case with you? If so, how?

A: The history major at St. A’s prepared me to communicate well, think critically, and to view the world with a set of eyes that penetrate beneath the surface. As a college coach, there is much value in these skills. In practices, games, team meetings, and in recruiting I am required to hone these skills. NYU is a place that puts a great deal of emphasis on global awareness, and we have many international students. We also have eleven campuses across the globe with several more to come in the near future. I believe my background in history helps me understand that I have so much to learn about NYU’s student body and where they come from. I am intrigued by the diversity and can appreciate that there is so much to be learned from it!

Q: You grew up in Nashua, started your undergraduate studies at Brandeis University, finished at St. A’s, and went off to coach at Springfield College and thence to Williams College. After living and studying in a number of medium-sized towns, was Manhattan something of a shock?

A: There is no place like NYC! There is a vibrancy and beauty to all the chaos. Before I came, I had a very naïve perception of the Big Apple and saw it as a big traffic jam. There is a unique character to every neighborhood, subway line, and coffee shop. What a fool I was to think it was ALL yellow taxi’s and skyscrapers! In a city of 8 million people, there is an individual relationship each of us gets to have with the place. It is rich in history and in that way feels like an adult playground. I feel so lucky that every day I grab a coffee on Broadway and head in to work to coach college basketball. It took me a little while to get the hang of it, but I am crossing streets and hailing cabs with the best of them! The ultimate compliment is when people stop and ask me for directions because it appears as though I am a “real New Yorker!”

Q: Nashua, New Hampshire is the only town in the United States to be named “Best Place to Live in America” twice by Money magazine (1987 and 1997). Was Nashua (“land between two rivers” in the language of the Penacook people) really all that? Why?

A: Nashua is one hour from the ocean, one hour from the lakes and mountains, and one hour from Boston (YES I am a Red Sox fan, and NO amount of time in New York City will ever change that). Nashua is a diverse city because of its proximity to Boston. I grew up with kids who came from literally nothing and also with kids who seemed to have everything. There were families from all over the world. I went to a very large high school with 3,999 other students. We had more students than St. A’s! I love where I am from, despite all the jokes about cow tipping and the misconception that we are rural. Plus, it was only 15 minutes from Saint Anselm College so every game was a home game.

Loftus with Magic Johnson Final

Agliato Lays Down the law at Upton & Hatfield

Joey Agliato

Joey Agliato ’15 (Hauppauge, NY) is a history major minoring in criminal justice. Aside from playing forward on the men’s hockey team, Joey also participates in the Team IMPACT program which has allowed ten-year-old Benjamin Roy, a cancer survivor, to be a formal part of the squad.

This semester, Joey is doing an internship at Upton & Hatfield, LLP in Concord. Here’s what he said about the experience.

Q: How did you get interested in law?

A: I have two cousins who represent different sides of the law: one is a police officer, and the other is an attorney. As I grew up, my cousin the police officer told me a number of stories about arrests and cases, and I came to see why criminals do what they do. At the same time, by listening to my cousin the attorney, I began to understand the process required to put criminals behind bars. Hearing about the various stages of criminal procedure made me realize that I wanted to pursue a career in criminal justice or law.

Q: What tasks do you perform at this internship? With what kind of law are you dealing the most at this firm?

A: At Upton & Hatfield, I summarize cases and write briefs on decisions. I take notes and research past precedents as well as laws pertaining to current open cases that my firm is handling. I also draft legal documents and letters to various clients or officials in the area. For example, I request copies of police reports of financial statements to help build a case. At the firm, I deal mostly with labor and employment law.

Q: What surprised you most about this internship? What have you learned from this experience?

A: What surprised me the most is the amount of research and preparation a lawyer does when working on a case. I was also surprised by the responsibilities I acquired through my hard work. I learned that if you care about what you are doing, ask a lot of questions, and see an assignment through to the end, your employer will be very pleased.

Q: What was the best thing about growing up in Hauppauge?

A: I got to live in close proximity to my cousins. Hauppauge is a small town with a very close-knit population which was something I really enjoyed. Everyone looks out for one another and contributes to the success of the community.

The History Department and Men’s Basketball

Chris Santo

The men’s basketball team at Saint Anselm College had a fantastic 2013-2014 season. The squad went 17-4 in the conference and finished 22-8 overall. The Hawks enjoyed a nine-game winning streak that included a victory over Southern New Hampshire University that was televised on CBS Sports Network.  The team eventually secured an invitation to the NCAA tournament and made it to the NCAA East Regional Semifinals in New Haven, Connecticut. After beating Le Moyne (to whom they had lost in the regular season) and Bloomfield, they lost a nail-biter to Southern Connecticut State.

The History Department’s very own Chris Santo ’15 (Cherry Hill, NJ) and Isaiah Nelsen ’17 (North Andover, MA) were integral parts of this squad. Chris started at forward for the entire season while Isaiah, also a forward, did a great job filling in when the starters got in foul trouble. Among starters, Chris had the second-highest field goal percentage (56.7%), the second-highest number of total rebounds (194), and was the team’s third-highest scorer (436 points).

One Thing after Another had a few things to ask Chris (above) as he recovered from the season’s end.

Q: At what point did you it become clear to you and the team that an NCAA East Regional playoff spot was a real possibility? What was the high point of this season for you?

A: It was always our goal to make the regional tournament. I think everybody really believed that we could do that from the day we got to campus this year. I’d say the high point was playing in that championship game against Southern Connecticut. We may not have won, but we walked away from that game knowing that we belonged there and were certainly capable of winning.

Q: How did you end up at St. Anselm College?

A: I was recruited by Coach Jimmy Moore and Coach Keith Dickson from the University of Vermont. I transferred here after my freshman year. The coaches here came up to watch me play at UVM, and I also visited here with my parents as I narrowed down my options.

Q: How and why did you decide to become a history major?

A: I became a history major to accompany my secondary education minor. History has always been an area of interest for me. I declared it after I took an American history course at UVM.

Q: How do you manage to balance the demands of basketball and schoolwork? Is there a secret here?

A: Being a student-athlete at Saint Anselm college is definitely not an easy thing to do. The classes here are very challenging. Nevertheless, Coach Dickson is great about making sure we stay on top of our books. He understands that school comes first. Luckily for me, the professors I’ve had have been extremely helpful and understanding with regards to my athletic schedule. That just leaves all the accountability on us to make time to get work done and study.