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Coach Keeps Roots in Fairfield County

Greenwich Legion baseball coach Mike Abate knows a thing or two about a comeback. Abate took over as head coach of an inexperienced Legion Senior team last year and helped them move past a rocky 2009 season. Abate's personal struggles in achieving his sports dreams have given him the tools necessary to inspire his players.

After earning several regional athletic awards as a student at Norwalk High School and Norwalk Community College, Abate was drafted by the Seattle Mariners in 1999. His career was cut short by a wrist injury, however, and it looked like Abate's sports career might be over.

Abate persevered through his injury and enrolled at Southern Connecticut State University, eventually turning to football and earning the starting quarterback spot on the team. Abate made the All-Northeast 10 team twice and shattered several school records.

Passing on his own values of perseverance, Abate has coached the Greenwich Legion Senior team to a strong comeback, starting the year at 9-0.

"There are a lot of good ballplayers on this team," Abate said. "They work really well together. It's more of a family atmosphere than a team atmosphere. And they expect to win."

Abate knows the road to professional baseball is a long and difficult one, but he encourages his Legion players every day that it is possible to achieve their goals.

"The odds are against you," he said. "But I can't tell you how many times people told me the odds were against me going professional. Some of these kids have the talent to maybe go on to the pro leagues. But when it comes to professional athletes, it's not always about talent – it's about timing."

Abate also works as an instructor at the Bobby Valentine Baseball Academy in Stamford. With ties to Norwalk, Greenwich, and Stamford, Abate is firmly rooted in Fairfield County and takes pride in helping shape the athletic future of local youngsters.

"I thank God every day for the life He's given me," Abate said. "Being at the pro level in baseball and playing football and now being able to be around and coach these guys – sports are my life. Now being around these kids to help them fulfill their dreams – that's right where I want to be."

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