Hart High softball’s Steve Calendo wanted nothing to do with The Signal’s Coach’s Corner.
In his mind, the players should have a corner on all attention leading up to the Indians’ CIF-Southern Section Division 3 final against Murrieta Mesa on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. in Irvine.
But Calendo, in his 12th season, is amicable and gracious, and he agreed to talk about life as a lawyer/coach and what Hart’s first-ever softball CIF title would mean.
Q: What would it mean to you for the program to win its first CIF crown?
A: I don’t think about it like that. It would be great for this group of girls because it’s such a great group. They’ve overcome so much to get to this point, and they’re just a lot of fun to be around.
Q: Having reached this point, would it be a disappointment to fall short?
A: If the girls can get that (title), great. If not, they’re going to have a lot of great memories based on the last three weeks.
Q: Why and when did you get into coaching?
A: My daughter (Ashley) was 9 years old and my wife (Brenda) asked me if I would coach Ashley’s softball team down at the Hart complex. I played baseball all my life. I kind of laughed it off. I didn’t even know what girls softball was. … It was a quick awakening, let’s put it that way.
Q: You grew up in a Chicago suburb, so how did you end up in Santa Clarita?
A: One of my best friends, who I was an attorney in a law firm with, lived out there and said it was a great family area, and that’s why we headed out there. That was back in 1984.
Q: You’ve been a lawyer at the firm you started in Glendale since 1991, what made you choose the profession?
A: I wanted to get involved in sports law, be an agent. At the time I graduated from (Pepperdine) law school there weren’t that many agents out there who could give you a job. So I just became a trial attorney – civil trial not criminal.
Q: Do you watch “Law & Order?”
A: It’s funny. When I’m on business trips, it’s a great show to watch because it begins and ends. But, again, I don’t like watching things that deal with law because you see a lot of it that’s just nonsense.
Q: What comes to mind when you think about Hart’s 1-0 loss to Valencia in the 2007 Division 1 final?
A: (Standout pitcher) Destiny Rodino, when she comes back into town on occasion, she still reminds me, ‘Why did you call a changeup?’ Our team was great, and Valencia’s team was fantastic. (Valencia’s) Jordan Taylor, from 40 feet, was a very, very tough pitcher to hit.
Q: Was there a moment when you guys almost got to Taylor, though?
A: I’ll never forget. It was first and third and Caitlin Stiglich was up at the plate in the sixth inning. She hit a rocket to the right of the second baseman, who went down on her knees and one hopped it. If she didn’t make that play, that ball is up against the fence.