As much as he valued his time in the dugout, the pull home was too great for Tom Mazzie.
Lake Park's softball coach is stepping down after five seasons as varsity coach of the Lancers.
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Mazzie's reasoning was simple. The time away from his family was too taxing. Mazzie and his wife, Michelle, who live in Naperville, have two children -- Estella, 7, and 5-year-old Everett. Everett was diagnosed with autism as a young toddler.
"I don't think people realize the stress the season is for coaches," said Mazzie, who teaches science at Lake Park. "Twice this season we played seven games in six days. You're just not home. From March 20 through now the season is a sprint. Nonstop, every day."
Mazzie, who played baseball at Glenbard North, took over the reins of the Lake Park program days before the 2009 season. A Lancers assistant until then, he replaced Cray Allen. Mazzie has also assisted in the Lake Park basketball program.
Mazzie's tenure came a year removed from Lake Park's last state appearance in 2008, when then-seniors Lynsey Ciezki and Missy Mazur led the Lancers to third place in Class 4A.
Lake Park hasn't had quite the Division I level talent in Mazzie's five years but still won 20-plus games each year. In five seasons under Mazzie the Lancers went 115-66, winning the Upstate Eight Conference championship in 2011.
Ciezki, who played at DePaul and now assists Allen at Harper College, could be a candidate to replace Mazzie.
"It was a great run and we had some great kids," Mazzie said. "I regret nothing and put everything I had into the program. I'll always support the school, and the program."
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