Fila Steps down as English Softball Coach

Retiring Lynn English softball coach Alisa Fila (back row, far right) is pictured with her 2014 team at the John Holland Memorial Tournament. Fila served 23 years as head coach in the Bulldogs’ softball program.

Retiring Lynn English softball coach Alisa Fila (back row, far right) is pictured with her 2014 team at the John Holland Memorial Tournament. Fila served 23 years as head coach in the Bulldogs’ softball program.

Alisa Fila, head coach of the Lynn English High School softball team for 23 seasons, has stepped down from the position.

Fila took over the Bulldogs’ softball program in 1992 following a successful playing career at English, where she was an All-Star on back-to-back Northeastern Conference championship teams in 1983 and 1984, UMass/Amherst where she was a Division 1 scholarship player, and Salem State, where she played three seasons.

Fila said the timing was right for her decision but it was a difficult one to make.

“It wasn’t an easy decision obviously after 23 seasons,” said Fila. “I just felt it was time. Coaching is a time-consuming commitment. It’s been 23 years which is a long time.”

English director of athletics Gary Molea was an assistant coach on Fila’s staff before becoming the leader of the entire athletic program.

“I was her assistant coach for her first 10 seasons in the program,” said Molea. “We had some good years but softball in the city of Lynn is highly competitive. It’s not as easy as it once was to build. When I started with Alisa 23 years ago, we had three levels: freshman, JV, and varsity. Now we just have JV and varsity softball teams as does Classical.”

Molea said that Fila ran a highly respected program and her players always represented the school well and with sportsmanship and grace.

“Alisa did a good job in the program. She always brought character and class and our girls always acted accordingly in the 23 years when she was here. We had some ups and downs but she always worked hard at it. It was a pleasure to work with her. She’s a good friend, too.”

Fila guided English to several State Tournament berths during her tenure. English has struggled record wise in recent seasons while competing in a city that boasts two powerful softball programs, Lynn Classical, led by coach Chris Warren, and St. Mary’s led by coach Colleen Newbury. English won its only John Holland Memorial Softball Tournament title in 1998.

“A lot of the pitching has gone to Classical recently,” said Fila. “The kids have stepped up and played positions that I’ve needed them to play even thought it might not have been their choice. But I’ve always wanted to coach the kids that want to come to Lynn English because that’s their school of choice and I take the kids and I always try to do the best I could with them throughout the years.”

Fila has sent numerous players on to compete at the next level including Cara Crowley who is a member of the Salem State team and a teammate of Classical’s Bobbi Dee Regan.

Fila thanked numerous supporters of her program, including Principal Thomas Strangie, the program’s No. 1 fan, Dave Reagan (who donated a pitching machine to the program), and assistant coaches Gary Molea, Linda Spinazola, Dick Dolley, Donna Mills, and Sara Kuzman.

“Thomas Strangie has been very supportive as has the administration at Lynn English with any decisions I have made throughout the years,” said Fila. “I also want to thank all the parents who have helped with the fundraising and all the fans and the coaches who have coached with me in the program.”

She also noted the support and encouragement of her father, former English principal Andy Fila.

“I’m going to miss coaching English softball ,” said Fila. “It was very emotional telling the kids that I chose to step down. I’m still going to attend games and watch the kids plays. My sister-in-law’s niece, Rachel Calnan, plays on the team. It’s a young team that’s going to be really good. Any person who steps into my shoes with this team is going to be very happy with what they have because they’re going to be good. I have a lot of faith in them.”

Molea said that he will begin the process of selecting a new coach until the start of the school year.

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