The former Knights coach was just a few feet away from the dugout he had planned on being in for his third season at the helm of the Brooklyn school's softball team. Instead he was fired by Madison in late October for allegedly stealing a key for the lock on the gate adjacent to the softball field. Madison’s 13-2 win over Telecommunications on Wednesday was the 2010 PSAL ‘A’ city championship winning coach’s first look at his old team in a game this season.
Former Madison head coach Jeff Meltzer watched his old team play a game for the first time this season Wednesday.
“I miss them,” Meltzer said. “I expected nice things because I worked out with the girls in the fall. I was the one who actually put the team together. … It’s strange.”
He said he stayed away for so long to give new coach Brian Freidman, who he wished all the best, some space and knew Telecom would be the Knights toughest league test to date. It was hard for Meltzer to just sit back and watch. He occasionally gaved words of advice and encouragement as the players came back to the dugout.
“I’ve been good,” Meltzer said. “Brian is 23. I’ve been doing this more years than he’s been alive. … It’s a different approach.”
Friedman, a former Madison baseball player and assistant baseball coach, said he had only met Meltzer once in passing at the school. The former coach did reach out to ask if he wanted to talk about the team or wanted any general advice. Meltzer joked that if Friedman wants him to be his assistant coach he would gladly accept.
“This is the first time that we ever talked,” Friedman said of Meltzer. “He’s a great guy. I have only heard good things about him [from the girls]. … I will be calling him up. I will be asking him for some help.”
Meltzer believes the school put Freidman in a tough situation leaving him little time to schedule top-level non-league games the team needs to improve as it looks to make a fourth straight trip to the PSAL final. Madison has already fallen to Susan Wagner and St. Francis Prep. Some coaches, who did not know he had been fired, called Meltzer looking to schedule non-league game earlier this season.
The players said they appreciated Meltzer’s presence and said that he and Friedman have different styles. They have adjusted and junior Victoria Slavik praised Friedman’s willingness to work with his players to make them better. When the game ended, Meltzer told the girls he was proud of them.
“It was nice to see him here,” senior shortstop Gina Gerone said. “It was a surprise. We looked up and he was here.”
Jeff Meltzer, HallFormer Madison head coach Jeff Meltzer, James Madison, Brian Freidman, Knights coach, assistant baseball coach, St. Francis Prep, Meltzer, Knights, assistant coach