Steve DeAugustino began his career at Flagler Palm Coast High School in 1981 as a wrestling coach, and he’ll be ending it as a wrestling coach.
DeAugustino is stepping down as the Bulldogs’ athletic director after 16 years. FPC grad Scott Drabczyk will be taking over the athletic department.
DeAugustino will close out his teaching career as a PE instructor and assistant to head wrestling coach David Bossardet.
In 27 years as the head wrestling coach, DeAugustino built a state powerhouse, winning three consecutive state championships and finishing second twice.
What will you miss most about being an AD?
I thoroughly enjoyed it. I like working with all the teams, coaches, players. It was nice to get out there and see something else. I did coach football, and I did coach softball, and I did coach wrestling. But it was good going to a soccer game, going to a lacrosse game, supporting everybody. I mean every single team has its own special needs. Their needs are different.
For example, what is something you didn’t know about the lacrosse team going in?
Well, I was like, they can use the practice field, but yet when they're whipping those balls around, it’s dangerous to have two lacrosse teams practicing on the same field, because the balls are flying everywhere. So we try to separate the fields and give them some space. We don't play lacrosse games on the backfield for example, because when the fans come in there's no protection. I mean the ticket takers, all that good stuff, they can get drilled.
You have been a teacher, coach and administrator for 42 years. Do you have an idea of when you will retire?
I think I'm going to work, probably, two or three years. I really enjoy the wrestling arena; I enjoyed working with the kids to make them better wrestlers or better athletes or better people. And I just really enjoy that. Now, this (AD) job is very demanding. This is a full-time job. It’s busy in the summertime here between summer camps and practices and summer workouts.
What will you miss most about being the AD?
Just all the people, all the different aspects of the sporting world and kind of getting involved with all the issues that go along with athletics, the scheduling. It's interesting and it's exciting, but it's work. You got to be here. That's where you get to see what your product looks like. You can't just watch it on TV and figure it out. You got to pay attention to sportsmanship, you got to pay attention to the way teams are portraying themselves, and you can't do that by sitting at home. It’s a lot — I’m going to be 67 years old next year — but it’s really fulfilling. And I really enjoyed reaching out to the community. We help the Rotary Club with the Fantasy Lights every year with all the athletes going out there, putting them up and tearing them down. We're doing fundraisers at Tom Gibbs Chevrolet and Woody’s Bar-B-Q. There's a lot of good people here.
How has the school changed since you have been the athletic director?
We’ve probably had eight to 10 different principals. You can learn something from every single one of them. Sometimes it's not a good thing, but you'll learn something. But I can't think of one that didn’t support athletics and academics. Flagler Palm Coast High School is a little special in the way they do care about the students. And, to be honest with you, their main focus is not championships, it's not win, win, win at all costs. It's all about what we've called the Flagler way. It's about making them well-rounded. I've had three kids go to school through here, and watched their success here, the different programs they were in from academics to athletics. It was a great experience for not just my kids, but a lot of kids that come through here. They're part of a family, and they feel that here.
When you started at FPC, the wrestling team practiced in the cafeteria. How did the Bulldogs rise to be a state power?
You start developing talent. You wrestle at smaller tournaments and have some success, and eventually you go to the national tournaments. The real turning point was in 1988, 1989. We had state champions the kids could model after, like Lester Watson. Then it’s just baby steps at that point. In 1989, we lost a state championship to a tough team, (Hollywood) McArthur, by half a point (70.5 to 70), because there was a kid that was losing like 5-3 in the finals and he was running out of time. He tried some random, last-ditch effort move to throw this kid and pin him or get back points and he would win a state championship. But he tried to throw him and the kid just dropped on him and put him on his back, and he gave up a major decision. We would have won by a point if we would have just been satisfied. But then we won three in a row, and we finished second in 1996 as well.
Are you looking forward to coaching every day again?
Yes, I'll do it as long as I can, because I know how much I like it. I'm going to have fun doing it. But it’s not always fun. You walk out of wrestling matches and practices pretty frustrated sometimes. You’ve got to do different things with different kids. You have to go with your strength. You just got to go in there and see what they're doing. And then fix what they're doing wrong and congratulate them when they're doing right. If they’re not in shape, then you’ve got to work them harder. Some of them work too hard, and they just burn themselves out. You have to keep a good balance. They’re all different, but yet, the main goal is to embrace the team concept. So, when you're doing it for your team, and not yourself, you become more effective. When you're one of those I guys, sometimes they'll get beat and they'll get all upset. But being part of something is what you have to get them to believe in.