Jeff, Fallon Bevino building memories

In more than 30 years of coaching Jeff Bevino has had his share of special moments. From coaching high-school boys in football at Notre Dame of Fairfield through his days as the baseball coach at Sacred Heart University, Bevino has been a teacher first.

His immense passion for whatever sport he’s involved with at the time has shown through. He’s been an emotional fire-brand type of coach, whose team’s preparation for every game has been his trademark.

Bevino has had a rare opportunity over the past three years — he’s coached his daughter Fallon through a trio of softball seasons at Foran High.

The Bevinos will begin their fourth and final go-around this spring.

Over the weekend, while relaxing over a cup of coffee, Jeff and Fallon had a chance to express their feelings about an unusual and fulfilling experience they’ve had together.

“What amazes me is how fast the time has gone,” Jeff Bevino said. “I can think back to the time when it was about to begin (the 2011 season) and I was sweating it out a bit. I knew she was coming to the team. I kept thinking, ‘oh boy, we’re going to have four years together.’”

Fallon came to Foran as a tall and talented athlete and has excelled in both volleyball and softball.

During her four years, she’s played in four state championship games (three in softball and one in volleyball).

Foran won a state softball title (Class L) in 2011 when Fallon was a freshman, as the Lions defeated Bacon Academy, 3-0. The past two years, the team lost by identical 3-2 scores to Rockville and Masuk, respectively.

Last season’s loss was especially painful, because Foran had a 2-0 lead going into the bottom of the seventh against the Panthers — only to give up not only the tying, but the winning run.

“We’ve put that loss behind us,” Fallon said. “You can’t focus on what you want to do now if you keep thinking about the past. It’s over with.”

She admits playing for her father has been both fun and difficult.

“What it’s taken is a lot of patience,” she said. “But, basically, I get treated like every other player. I knew when I started as a freshman, it would be intimidating. Once we got started, however, and we began winning, it was okay.”

Jeff Bevino’s problem, he says, is he’s always the coach.

“I’ve tried to separate being a parent and being a coach,” he said. “It isn’t easy because you always want to coach. We’ll be home and I’ll think of something we need to talk about or work on and I’ll approach her.”

That’s when it gets funny.

“It’s 12:30 at night and I want to sleep and he wants to talk about hitting,” Fallon said. “I’m starting to fall asleep and I’ll say, ‘Okay, I get it.”

Caught in the middle of all this is Fallon’s mom, and her No. 1 fan, Debbie.

“We’re going to get her a striped jersey because she has to act like a referee,” Jeff said. “She’s a saint for having to put up with us.”

Over her three softball seasons, Bevino, who’s been moved from right field to first base for the 2014 season, has hit an impressive .434 with 114 hits in 273 at-bats. She has driven in 86 runs, scored 57 runs and slammed 19 doubles and four home runs.

During that time, the Lions have captured one state title, one Southern Connecticut Conference championship and have compiled a 69-12 record.

As a four-year starter and middle hitter in volleyball, Fallon’s teams have won 57 games while losing 31 for head coach Julie Johnson.

She’s made numerous newspapers’ All-Area teams and has been an All-Stater in both sports.

“I’ve told her she has to take some time, maybe after this season, to reflect back on what she’s done,” Jeff said. “I’ve really been blessed to have had this chance to be both her coach and her parent.

“I know that I tend to be overbearing on all of my players during the pre-season and into the beginning of the regular season. Right now, I’ve got to get this team to where it needs to be.

“Once we get to the middle of the season, I’m going to try and be a cheerleader for awhile.”

Fallon appreciates what it takes for her dad to be successful in coaching both football and softball at Foran High.

“He has a passion for what he does, that’s what makes him so good,” she said. “He cares about his players, all of his players. He’s tough. It’s all been done in a constructive way.”

Once Fallon graduates, she’ll be heading off to Kutztown State University in Pennsylvania, where she will major in sports management. The Golden Bears reached the NCAA Division II softball finals last year before losing to Central Oklahoma.

“I’ve been involved in sports all my life,” she said. “I want to stay with it for as long as I can.”

With his double duty as coach, Jeff Bevino will have little time to see his daughter play in college. “It’s going to be hell,” he said. “That’s my girl going off to college. She’ll be gone.”

That void though will be filled by Fallon’s brother, Mike, now a freshman at Foran. Mike’s a quarterback who also plays basketball and baseball.

“He’s going to be very good,” Fallon said. “Now, he’ll have to deal with my dad.

“I’m always kidding my teammates. I tell them you’re lucky. At least when the game or practice is over, you get to go home without the coach. I can’t do that.”