Fenwick High School Athletic Director Scott Thies has been busy the last few weeks with hiring new leaders for some of his programs.
After introducing Kyle Kmiecik as the new head baseball coach July 7, Thies announced on July 12 that Beto Garcia, a Spanish teacher at the school, is the new aquatics director. Garcia will oversee the Friars’ swimming and diving as well as water polo programs.
Former aquatics director Steve Thompson, who spent the previous two years in the position, will remain as head coach for the boys and girls swimming and diving teams.
In a press release issued by the school, Garcia, who played water polo at Brother Rice and later at Queens College in New York, said he wants to maintain the program’s rich tradition of excellence.
“I realize with such a legendary swimming, diving, and water polo program that there are high standards and expectations,” said Garcia. “My personal opinion is, as coaches, we are in the business of building athletes into local champions and national competitors.”
Garcia had a stellar playing career in water polo. He was voted Most Valuable Freshman on Brother Rice’s 1998 state championship squad, and the Crusaders added a second-place trophy in 1999 and a fourth-place trophy in 2000.
At Queens College during his freshman season in 2002, Garcia helped lead the Knights to the Eastern College Athletic Conference championship, a Northern Regional title, and a third-place finish in the NCAA Division I tournament. The following year, Queens won the Division II championship.
Garcia started up water polo programs at Little Village High School and De La Salle Institute in 2007 and 2008, respectively. He joined the Illinois Water Polo Association in 2001 and has been an aquatics coach in the Chicago Park District since 2008.
In his coaching tenure, Garcia has coached three state Most Valuable Players and more than 50 players who went on to achieve all-state status.
Fabbrini named Fenwick hockey coach
On July 8, Fenwick introduced Nick Fabbrini as the new head boys hockey coach.
Fabbrini, a Forest Park native and 2004 Fenwick graduate, is part of an overhauled staff that includes seven coaches who played hockey after high school. Among them is Oak Park native Joe Corvo, who attended Fenwick and had an 11-year career as a defenseman in the National Hockey League.
“All of them have played hockey at a high level, have a development mindset, and know each other from playing and coaching hockey in Illinois,” said Fabbrini in a story on Fenwick’s website. “Together we have coalesced around the goal of returning Fenwick hockey as a highly successful program. We are excited to get started.”
“Bringing an individual like Nick into our program — or back into the program — adds a layer of both consistency and credibility,” said Fenwick hockey director Bryan Boehm. “Nick checks off all of the right boxes for what we were looking for. He has club, high school, college and international coaching experience. This skill set is hard to match.”
Fabbrini comes to Fenwick from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he spent 10 seasons as head coach of the club hockey team that competes in American Collegiate Hockey Association Division I. He was a two-time finalist for ACHA Coach of the Year and won the 2018 Central States Collegiate Hockey League Coach of the Year.
He was also the director of coaching and served as bantam level coach for the Champaign-Urbana Youth Hockey Association.
Fabbrini was an assistant coach on the 2017 and 2019 U.S. men’s national university teams which competed in Kazakhstan and Russia. He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Illinois in 2008, then served as an assistant on Fenwick’s junior varsity and varsity teams for two seasons under Virgil Rutili (2010-12).
He also had an outstanding playing career. In high school, he helped the Friars win back-to-back Chicago Catholic League, Kennedy Cup and AHAI championships in his junior and senior seasons (2003, 2004).
At the college level, Fabbrini was part of Illinois teams that reached the ACHA national semifinals four consecutive years, and the Illini won national championships during his freshman and senior seasons — including a perfect 38-0 record in 2008.
Fenwick girls named all-state
Fenwick girls soccer players Kate Henige and Abbie Rogowski, a pair of recent graduates who helped the Friars finish fourth in the IHSA Class 2A state tournament this spring, were named to Chicagoland Soccer’s all-state team July 13.
Henige, a forward, led Fenwick in scoring with 26 points (19 goals, 7 assists). Rogowski, a defender, led a stout defense that posted 11 shutouts during the season.