Monroe coach Mike Turo is still changing lives with baseball after 42 years – New York Post

Posted: October 20, 2019 at 8:45 am

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Mike Turo could have been in the Yankees dugout this week. Or maybe coaching down one of the baselines during the American League Championship Series. Somewhere in the big leagues.

He stretches

out in his chair in his office at James Monroe High School and allows his mind to wander for just a second. He had turned down opportunities in the past to coach baseball in college or the minor leagues.

I was born and brought up here and I had a lot of friends here, and they chose different directions, Turo said. They went their way after a while and I followed my dream.

All around his office in The Bronx are tokens of that journey.

City and division championship trophies and honors that the PSALs all-time winningest coach has earned in his 42 years at the helm. Scorebooks are stored in the cabinets going back to 1978, the first year the 64-year-old coached at Monroe.

On the walls are photos of past and current players. All of that winning pales in comparison to what truly defines Turos legacy. What matters most is giving his players a chance in life in the borough he grew up in.

I feel to me its a greater honor helping the kids here who really need you, said Turo, who grew up in Pelham Parkway. And then over the years, all the kids come back here and say you helped save my life and I know now how many kids Ive touched.

Turo has been a teacher, coach and athletic director at Monroe. His players come from different types of home environments. Many arrive as first-generation immigrants from the Dominican Republic, Venezuela or other Spanish-speaking countries. Turos philosophy is to treat each kid uniquely and work around any potential issues to make them as strong a student-athlete as possible.

Hes a baseball guy, one. Two, hes a fatherly figure, said Jose Bautista, one of Turos former players and current Monroe assistant coach. Some of them are not used to being around [a] father, but he just gives off that vibe that encouragement that you can do it.

Its part of fulfilling his dream to be a teacher on and off the field. Growing up, baseball was always in his blood as he played at Mount St. Michael High School before going to Fordham University and finishing at Lehman College.

A week removed from earning that college degree in December 1977, he interviewed to be the varsity baseball coach and a physical education teacher at Monroe. Outgoing baseball coach Joe Consagra was a business partner at a day camp with Turos father. He gave Turo a high recommendation to the administration, and he was on his way. He has earned 1,369 wins, lost only 227 times and claimed six PSAL city championships. There have been numerous Bronx division titles along the way, and for his efforts, the school named the field after him last year.

His rules about conduct on the field havent changed since the first day.

My philosophy is to always hustle, Turo said. If you dont hustle, you are not playing for me. I want people to understand and say thats a good kid.

These kids are well-disciplined, and its going to give them an edge when it is time to graduate.

Turo retired as a teacher three years ago and says he will continue to coach as long as the passion is there and he feels in good shape. He says he hasnt put too much pressure on himself to stick around to break the all-time city baseball wins record held by legendary Archbishop Molloy coach Jack Curran, who compiled 1,708 wins before his death in 2013. Turo considered Curran a mentor and a good friend.

It all can be taxing at times for Turo, who drives two hours each way from Suffolk County. He credits his success to his wife for 30 years, Teresalyn, and his two children, Michael Jr. and Danielle.

And that success, that development of players for 42 years, is all part of living his dream.

I always loved The Bronx, he said.

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Monroe coach Mike Turo is still changing lives with baseball after 42 years - New York Post

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October 20th, 2019 at 8:45 am

Posted in Life Coaching