Patrick Duffy was like many coaches before him, growing up with the dream to become a professional baseball player. But, while he was in high school, he decided to take a different path.
“I decided when I was in high school that I had to be involved in the game, you know, as a life journey, you can say, ” Duffy said.
Duffy’s journey began with T-Ball in first grade after his father signed him up. Not even sure if he wanted to pursue baseball, he played anyway.
Duffy’s relationship with baseball started off rocky as he didn’t even like it his first year. His second year, however, was very different. He was put on a great team with many of his friends, and things clicked from there. He fell in love with the game.
“The people you are surrounded with when you get into these things really dictate how you adapt to the sport,” said Duffy. “And when I coach now I want to make sure everybody has a good positive experience with it.”
Duffy went on to say that first year is what made him want to ensure players enjoyed their experience. He said he learned from how badly he hated it.
Duffy’s playing days ended in his freshman year of junior college after he decided not to play because he wasn’t happy with the way things were going. Then the junior varsity baseball coach at Walter Johnson High School asked him to help him out. At age 19, Patrick Duffy had begun his coaching journey.
Two years into his stint at Walter Johnson, Duffy started putting together his own summer and fall teams, which marked the first time he became a head baseball coach.
“He’s one of the best coaches I’ve ever had,” said former player Billy Lennox. “He’s fair, tough and always has the players’ best interests at heart.”
At age 23, Duffy got the head varsity baseball coaching job at Georgetown Day School. He spent two seasons as head coach, with a 16-16-1 record.
After those two seasons, in spring 2004, Duffy began his coaching career at the 1-year-old Avalon School.
“It was an experience that I needed ’cause it really helped prepare me to build the program at Avalon.”
In Duffy’s first season as head coach for The Avalon School, he posted an impressive 7-1 record. In his second season, he led the The Avalon School Black Knights to a 15-5 record and made it to the Maryland State B championship for the first time. They would eventually lose the game; however, it wouldn’t be the last time Duffy would lead the Black Knights to the state championship. In his third year as head coach, he led his team to a 15-10 record and into the state championship, where the Black Knights came out on top. It was Duffy’s first state title as a coach.
Duffy has been the coach for the Black Knights for 10 years. During that time, he has compiled a 190-96-2 record, bringing his total record to 206-112-3. He has won five Old Line Baseball Conference Coach of the Year awards and has not had a losing season in his entire varsity head coaching career.
The Black Knights have enjoyed eight state championship appearances (2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014) and won five (2006, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2014).
They have won three of seven Old Line Baseball Conference championships.
Several of Duffy’s players have gone on to play college baseball, including Tommy Sanchez (Towson University), Billy Lennox (Frederick Community College), Josh Brunvoll (Nyack College), Bennie Sanchez ( Savannah College Art and Design), Niko Sanchez (Marymount University) and Mike Brunvoll (Nyack College) .
However, the biggest is perhaps Kevin Fuqua who graduated from The Avalon School in 2007. Fuqua played at the NCAA Divison 1 school La Salle University. While he was in college, he was selected to the All-Atlantic 10 team and was named the Big 5 Pitcher of the Year. He currently holds the school records for innings pitched (331.0) and games started (46). He was second in school history with strikeouts (222) and tied for third in shutouts (2). Fuqua also went on to play for the Minor League Baseball team the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks.
“I had the most fun I ever had playing baseball by playing for coach Duffy,” said former Avalon catcher Aspen Feldman. “He’s one of the smartest coaches I ever played for.”
Duffy has a much different approach to the game than most coaches, and that could be one reason for the success.
“The best part of having coach Duffy as a coach was his aggressive approach toward every game,” stated former Avalon standout Billy Lennox. “Not many coaches do that anymore. I love that style of play, and it was great to have a coach that I was on the same page with.”
Duffy is busy coaching his summer Collegiate Dig In Baseball’s squad. He looks to improve on the team’s most impressive season, which was last year, when he took his team all the way to the Maryland Collegiate Baseball League championship game.