By Lily Belcher
Donald ‘Donny’ Scolaro, assistant coach of the Durant High School baseball team, has retired after 17 years. His retirement comes after having coached three of his sons’ teams to the state series and solidified his legacy as a Durant coach.
“It was a tough decision. I love coaching, but it’s tough. I’m getting old,” Scolaro said about the decision to retire. “It’s time for me and Mrs. Scolaro to do some things and just not have to be in a hurry all the time.”
Scolaro’s career in baseball began at Brandon High School, where he played alongside Durant Principal Gary Graham. There, he met Coach Robert Campbell, whom Scolaro said made the greatest impact on his coaching style.
“It was just very structured and very disciplined. And we were very fortunate to have a phenomenal coach in high school who kind of set us up to be coaches and players,” Scolaro explained. “He was really good at what he did, and I was always grateful for him.”
After high school, Scolaro attended Florida Southern University and was ultimately drafted by the Houston Astros in the 22nd round of the 1994 draft. The infielder played with the Astros’ Single-A team in Auburn, New York and traveled to the different minor league ballparks with his wife, Michelle, for a year until pursuing a career as a coach.
As Durant’s coach, he has had the opportunity to coach all three of his sons: Jacob (Class of 2014), Jonah (Class of 2017) and Luke (Class of 2021).
“It was great. Sometimes it gets tough, but obviously something that was really special … I was glad they all got to experience that,” reflected Scolaro.
Scolaro said he has a lot of good memories in his tenure with Durant, but his favorite one from the 2020-21 season was when they were able to beat the Riverview Sarasota Rams in the regional semifinals.
“That game got a little heated and that definitely was the one that stands out,” he recalled. “And we got to do that in front of our crowd … the whole team [was] basically facing the crowd with their arms up in the air, and that was awesome.”
Scolaro plans to return to Durant baseball games as a fan to continue to cheer on his athletes but will use the time he has now to visit his sons and support them in their future careers.