The new high school baseball season will begin with a new coach for the Manhasset varsity squad.
Assistant coach Mark Giardino will be taking over from former head coach Brian Corbo, who coached the team for seven seasons.
Giardino said it will be hard to top what Corbo has done for the Manhasset baseball program.
“Not only did he set us up for success this year, but for years to come,” Giardino said. “I know that if we don’t perform well, it won’t be because of a lack of talent. I am hoping not to get in the way too much.”
During his time at Manhasset, Corbo made an impact with both the baseball team and the community, according to Giardino.
Giardino said Corbo built the program from the ground up and also started a travel organization to give the older players a place to play, improve and come together.
He added that the program became so popular that Corbo expanded teams at the younger level.
Corbo also partnered with the Manhasset Police Activity League to run youth clinics for children, starting at the Pre-K level during the fall, winter and spring seasons, according to Giardino.
“Brian was great with names and he knew every kid that played baseball in the community,” Giardino said. “Coach Corbo and PAL started coaches clinics within the community to help give ideas and drills to the coaches of the youth teams. He truly left his mark all over town.”
Giardino said he admired Corbo’s work ethic and commitment and the best way to describe his effort for the program’s turnaround was that it was impossible to work harder than he did.
“I can try to work, plan, prepare, and practice as hard as he did, but I can’t do more,” Giardino said. “Brian constantly told his players that, ‘Success is a byproduct of hard work.’ He didn’t just say it, he lived by it.”
While at Manhasset, Corbo started a family with his wife Jahn and his two children, AJ and Julie, who were always present at games, practices and events, according to Giardino.
“The only thing that meant more to Brian during his tenure here was his family,” Giardino said. “Whenever he wasn’t with his family, he was doing something baseball related.”
Giardino graduated from Siena College with a degree in business and played on the men’s soccer team. He said he became an educator due to his passion for coaching baseball and got his start as an assistant coach at Hauppauge High School for six campaigns.
“I always strived to be a varsity baseball coach at Hauppauge,” Giardino said. “When I got a teaching job at Manhasset, I thought to myself, ‘Great, I’m going to one of the best lacrosse schools on the island. Coaching baseball is going to be tough.’ The next thing I knew, I was meeting with Brian and Chris Keen, his assistant and now my assistant.”
Giardino said he became great friends with Corbo and Keen and they enjoyed collaborating with each other to make Manhasset’s program successful.
“It was fun to be part of building a program,” Giardino said. “When Coach Corbo and Coach Keen took their team to two county semi-finals in their seven year tenure, they made me feel part of it. I enjoyed the ride.”
According to Giardino, with a daunting task at hand, his focus is to continue furthering Corbo’s work and ensure that Manhasset maintains success this season and beyond.
“I wish Coach Corbo’s tenure ended with a better season,” Giardino said. “Last year’s team was young and inexperienced but now I have an experienced and talented team in my first year. My goal is to build on what he started here, and strive to work as hard as he did. If we can do that, I know we’ll be successful.”