Like Father, Like Son (And Daughter.. And Grandchildren): Three Generations Of Thoesens On The Baseball Diamond
The old saying “like father, like son” has a new twist in the Thoesen household. Or, to be more accurate, on the baseball diamonds.
Ian Thoesen, head coach of the Newtown High School baseball team and an instructor for The Nighthawks Summer Baseball Camp, is the middle man in three generations of baseball enthusiasts. When growing up learning about tgame of balls and strikes, he got pointers from his dad, Guy Thoesen. Now, Ian coaches his own children, and both work together at the summer camp. They also both provide baseball instruction through Norwalk-based Integrated Sports Training.
“He coached me all my life — all through high school,” said Ian, whose fond memories include defending Little League World Series champions from Trumbull in the following season’s regional tournament three decades ago. “He got me into the business of doing lessons and coaching.”
Ian’s son, Donovan, 7, is getting involved with baseball. His daughter Madison, 12, plays softball, and youngest daughter, Sofia, 10, is not involved with the game on the diamond, but does play basketball. All three children are coached by Ian.
He has run the Nighthawks camp — which provides up-and-coming players instruction on hitting, fielding, throwing, pitching, and base running — for six years and has more than 20 years of coaching, providing lessons, and running camps under his belt.
“I love it. I think it’s just fun teaching the kids — especially at an early age,” Ian said. “It’s fun to see them grow. It’s fun working with kids, seeing the smile on their faces when they’re doing something well.”
And when it is your own children, all the better.
Ian has coached players in Wilton throughout all of these years, leading them as pre-teens on up through high school/ college age in summer league play with American Legion baseball. He coaches players ages 7 to 9 in the summer camp. “I’m looking forward to when they start coming up into our program in a few years,” Ian said.
Both Ian and Guy played baseball at a high level. Ian played three seasons of professional ball with independent league teams in Waterbury, Indianapolis, and Massachusetts as a pitcher and third baseman and Guy played minor league ball in the Philadelphia Phillies organization, including at AA ball in Boca Roton, Fla.
Guy, who pitched in the minors after pitching and playing in the infield in high school, has 50 years of experience in coaching, instruction, and scouting.
Guy, who runs GT Baseball through Integrated Sports Training and has instructed such players as Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Charlie Morton, expects this out of his players, regardless of age: “Basic fundamentals, attitude. I like them to be committed to the game.”
Ian wants his players to have a good attitude, work hard, and have fun.
“Baseball’s a metaphor for life. It’s being on time and working hard and, like anything, enjoying the process,” Ian said.
Madison plays for the Thunder travel team and is a pitcher, shortstop, and third baseman. She earned MVP honors in the team’s Danbury Memorial Day Tournament championship triumph this past spring.
“Just playing with a team — all the excitement of striking someone out in a championship game and scoring the game-winning run — it’s very exciting,” Madison said of what she enjoys about playing softball.
Having dad as coach means a familiar face in the dugout — as well as having coach at home for dinner.
“It’s fun. He’s been my coach for a lot of teams,” Madison added.
“I like scoring. It feels good,” Sofia said of her favorite part of playing basketball.
Ian’s wife, Stefanie, is also a big component in the Thoesen sports scene.
“I love it. I love watching my kids play,” said Stefanie, who gets involved beyond getting her children to and from the fields and courts by taking team photos and doing team writeups for local media.
Nighthawks Summer Baseball Camp sessions take place at Newtown High Monday through Friday, from 9 am to noon. Age range is 6 to 13, and players are broken into age groups. Cost is $205 per session. Register through Newtown Parks and Recreation online. For sessions the weeks of August 12, 19, 26, use activity number 409516.