44-year-old Robert Bruglio (brool-ee-oh) has been to the summit. In his 18th season as a high school baseball coach, he is coming off a 2009 season in which his team – the Port Charlotte High School Pirates – went 21-6, leading the nation in per-inning strikeouts and ERA. With a team ERA of 1.37. Last season’s senior pitching sensation, left-hander David Holmberg, is now in the Chicago White Sox farm system at Bristol, Tennessee, having taken his 2009 season ERA of .12 with him (that’s right – .12!).
So, how does Bruglio top that?
Bruglio is a health and personal fitness teacher at PCHS, so naturally he’s all about getting better. A head coach for the past 10 seasons, Bruglio has learned to take it in stride. “We try to get better every day,” he states, “and to win every inning one at a time.”
Bruglio’s 13-man varsity roster sports right-handed pitcher Ricky Knapp, with his 2009 season .78 ERA and .512 batting average. And senior outfielder Shaun Lovett, whose next stop is the US Air Force Academy, is currently hitting .533. Not to mention junior infielder Jared McElwee, who had only I error in 74 attempts last season.
And there is no shortage of solid opponents to overcome, including Charlotte (Punta Gorda), Mariner, Fort Myers, and North Fort Myers High Schools. But Coach Bruglio isn’t worried. His kids have a solid work ethic, as witnessed by their classroom accomplishments: in 2009, the Pirates had a team GPA of 3.5. Bruglio, a former grad of what is today the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, understands the critical importance of player eligibility to any scholastic athletic program. “We require each player to maintain a GPA of 2.5,” he notes.