HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – The name of the baseball field at Gaither High School could not be more fitting.
It honors the man who brought the sport to the school.
It honors the man who built it.
It honors the man who shaped the program for 30 years, Frank Permuy.
Frank Permuy Field shone brightly on Tuesday night in honor of Permuy, who lost his battle with brain cancer the previous Sunday.
The other baseball coaches from across Hillsborough County participated in remembering the legendary coach too.
“One of the coaches, Dennis Braun from Plant, made a suggestion. ‘Why don’t we all turn on the lights for seven minutes out of respect and memory of Frank?’ so coaches throughout the county went to their fields when it got dark and everybody turned their lights on at the same time for seven minutes,” said Landy Faedo, the head baseball coach at Alonso High School. “That was his favorite number, number seven, because I guess his favorite player was Mickey Mantle.”
Faedo met Permuy when he was 18-years-old and, then, he coached alongside him for nine years at Gaither High School.
Faedo recalled one of the many traits he learned from Permuy when he was coaching with him.
“He taught me calmness and you got to be calm all the time,” said Faedo. “You got to keep everything in control because that is the example you have to portray to the kids.”
Scott Hoffman, who actually coached with both Permuy and Faedo at Gaither High School, played for Permuy for four years in high school. He is currently the head baseball coach at Wharton High School.
Hoffman said Permuy had two priorities.
“His family and baseball,” said Hoffman, “were the most important things to him.”
Hoffman and Faedo agreed “Coach P” had a hilarious way with words.
“He is probably one of the funniest guys you will ever hear,” said Hoffman.
“He is really witty,” said Faedo, “spur of the moment, he would say something really quick that was really funny.”
Permuy prepared for every situation, he competed fiercely winning more than 1,300 games over his coaching career, and he always took care of his team.
“He did everything for his players,” said Hoffman. “Anything he did was for his players. Playing for him was a dream. I think it prepared me for everything being a coach. I think all of his players could probably become coaches because they learned the game so well. It is just fun. It is a fun atmosphere but you knew it was time to play when you had to.”
Hoffman commented on coaching against Permuy admitting it was “hard.”
“He loves his players. He cares about his teams,” said Hoffman. “You wish, you hope, I hope one day your players admire you as much as his former players do.”
“He is an icon in high school baseball,” said Faedo, “not only in the state but throughout the whole country. He became a lifelong friend, one of my best friends, he is going to be missed. I love that guy.”