Haven Coach Inducted into Villanova Athletic Hall of Fame

Strath Haven proudly congratulates Mr. Brian Fili for his impressive accomplishments on the baseball diamond and the positive impact he has had on his players.

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Haven Coach Inducted into Villanova Athletic Hall of Fame

Ryan Krouse, Sports Editor

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This past December, Strath Haven eighth grade math teacher Mr. Fili was announced as a member of the Villanova Athletic Hall of Fame class for 2018. It is surely a well deserved honor, as he finished his collegiate career as a .300 hitter, with career totals including 181 hits, 190 runs scored, 86 runs batted in, 34 doubles, five triples and 13 home runs. In addition, Fili ranks in the top 20 in the Wildcats record book in eight different career categories, including having the best stolen base success rate in school history. Fili was selected for first team All-BIG EAST in 1995, a season in which he had a .325 average accompanied by 67 runs scored, 46 walks, 22 stolen bases and a .471 on-base percentage while helping lead Villanova to a 40-win season and an appearance in the BIG EAST Tournament. The team made three straight conference tournament appearances from 1995-97 and reached the BIG EAST championship game in his senior year. Continuing with his love for the game, Mr. Fili works as the head varsity baseball coach for the Panthers.

Mr. Fili discussed aspects of his playing career as well as the impact the game has had on him with the Panther Press.

 

Panther Press: What was your most memorable moment playing baseball at Villanova?

Brian Fili: My most memorable moment was in the Big East Tournament my senior year where we upset Notre Dame and Brad Lidge twice to go to the Big East Championship where we ended up losing to St. John’s in the Championship. Had many great moments, but this one stood out.

 

PP: Who, whether it be a coach or teammate, influenced you the most during your career at the university?

BF: Definitely my Head Coach George Bennett. Coach Bennett took a chance on me offering me a Division I scholarship and I have him to thank for that chance. He is the reason I got into education and coaching. I realized how many lives he has touched in his years as an educator and a coach and I figured what a way to spend your life doing something that you enjoy doing every day and now I am also living that same dream.

 

PP: What lessons have you learned particularly from the game itself?

BF: This is a great question. I am actually using this question as part of my speech on February 2nd at the Hall of Fame Banquet. People do not realize what it takes to be a successful baseball player. All I hear is that sport is boring or I get bored playing or watching baseball. Baseball is a game of failure. At the plate you are going to fail more than you are going to succeed. There are many people that can not handle failing or dealing with adversity. The people who can not handle failure or dealing with adversity, baseball is not the game for you. I honestly feel that how you deal with these situations is what defines you as a person and an athlete. The lessons I learned in the game of baseball has not only helped me as a player and now a coach, but with my profession as a teacher. I have this conversation with my players every year at Strath Haven.

 

PP: Do you have any advice for younger athletes aspiring for such a milestone?

BF: Yes. Set your goals high. You can accomplish anything if you are willing to work for it.  Things are not going to come easy. No matter what sport you play, you are going to have your strengths and you are going to have your weaknesses. Maximize those strengths to the best of your ability and work on your weaknesses. I tell my players before every practice, “What are you going to work on today?” Practice how you play and the game will slow down and become easier for you.