Whether cajoling, celebrating, raging or fuming, former Chamberlain softball coach Bobby Diez always wore his emotions in plain sight.
He was a bold, intense, yet personable motivator who transformed the program into a powerhouse. Diez did it patrolling the dugout at the school for nearly 30 years.
Now, the school wants that field named in his honor.
The push to have the softball stadium renamed was started by the Chamberlain Legacy Alliance, which includes graduates of the school and community supporters. They are trying to get signatures to support their cause before presenting it to the Hillsborough County School Board.
In August of last year, Diez officially bid farewell, formally ending an era in which he amassed more than 600 career victories, led the Chiefs to nine final four appearances and two state titles (2003, 2012) and coached five All-Americans, as well as countless other girls who went on to play in college.
Diez initially became a coach in baseball working with West Tampa little leaguers in 1967. He went on to become an assistant baseball and football coach at Tampa Catholic and Jefferson.
Then he stepped away from athletics to work in real estate and on a sod farm.
But Diez could not stay away from coaching for long. He returned to the high school ranks in 1992 as a driver’s education teacher and softball coach at Chamberlain.
He loved the sport — and the players.
By staying, Diez became an institution.