- August 30, 2022
So much has changed since Anthony Campanella was named the head baseball coach at Seabreeze in 1994.
There were no cellphones. There was no social media.
Campanella, who considers himself "old school," is retiring after 29 years of coaching high school baseball, 27 as a head coach.
He thought he was retiring in 2017 when he stepped down as Seabreeze's head coach after 24 seasons. But he was lured back a year later, and was an assistant coach for one season at Flagler Palm Coast before taking over the team the past three seasons.
"I'm sorry to see him step down," said FPC athletic director Steve DeAugustino, who has posted ads for a head baseball coach and two assistants.
"When you know it's time, it's time," said Campanella, who will continue to teach at FPC and coach with the Orlando Scorpions baseball travel club.
Campanella, 53, compiled a record of 456-268 with the two schools. He led Seabreeze to seven district championships, 16 playoff appearances, and three final four appearances including state runner-up in 2001. His Seabreeze teams made the playoffs in 10 of 11 seasons from 1998 to 2008.
He coached eight players who went on to play professional baseball.
"I love the game, but it's time for someone else to take the reins," he said. "My body aches from years of throwing batting practice and hitting fungoes. As coaches, we're doing the same things the players do, and over time your body breaks down. I'd like to wake up one day and not have my elbow bark at me."
After sitting out the 2018 season, Campanella got a teaching job at FPC, where his uncle, Sal Campanella, had once been the principal, and he joined Jordan Butler's coaching staff.
"I missed baseball. I missed being around the kids," Campanella said.
"I'm going to miss the relationships. The game is something we all love. But the best part about coaching is developing baseball players and good citizens to go out out into society."
Butler, who is now the athletic director at Matanzas, was looking to get into administration and was hoping Campanella would take the team over for him, which he did a year later, when Butler became director of the Flagler County Youth Center.
"I don't know how I sweet-talked him into coming out of retirement," Butler said. "I've known Campy for a long time, and his record speaks for itself. He's one of the most successful coaches ever in Volusia and Flagler counties."
Campanella's first team at FPC went 8-1 in 2020 before the season was shut down because of the pandemic. The past two seasons have been rebuilding years for the Bulldogs, but this year they advanced to the district championship game after rallying for seven runs in the seventh inning to defeat Jacksonville Mandarin 7-5 in the semifinal.
"I'm going to miss the relationships," Campanella said. "You know a kid better than his parents know him, because you're around him so much. The game is something we all love. But the best part about coaching is developing baseball players and good citizens to go out out into society."