Guy Virgilio walked toward athletic director Shawn Trent and told him, “She’s tied for the record.”
“She” refers to senior Gi Krstec, who needed one last goal to set a new Lakewood Ranch High girls soccer single-game scoring record.
It didn’t happen, but that moment with Trent epitomizes Virgilio’s coaching ways.
“The one thing that I’m very proud of is the fact that over the years, I’ve had a lot of great athletes,” Virgilio said. “But I’ve had the opportunity to coach a lot of great, young people. They’re hard workers and very loyal. I’m just proud to be part of it.”
On Friday, Virgilio captured his 300th career win when the Mustangs (12-2-1) routed visiting Palmetto, 8-0, on senior night.
There wasn’t a Gatorade bath to commemorate Virgilio’s milestone victory.
“I was kind of glad,” said Virgilio, who played collegiately at South Florida.
What did coincide with the latest win were plenty of post-match photographs, three balloons that combined to read, “300,” and Trent handing Virgilio a plaque listing his achievement.
“He’s just done a great job,” Trent said. “I don’t know 100 percent what you contribute it to, but he’s a great guy and cares about the kids. He’s everything you hope you get in a coach.”
Among active Manatee County coaches, only Southeast High girls basketball coach John Harder and Saint Stephen’s boys soccer coach Marc Jones possess more wins than Virgilio, who has a record of 300-69-35 in 18 seaons with 12 district titles and three region titles.
Virgilio’s path to coaching started in 1994 at the youth level, before Lakewood Ranch was built and opened in 1998.
He became the first and only coach of the girls soccer program when varsity play began in 1999-2000.
Along the way, he’s coached several standout players like Lindsay Thompson, who followed her Ranch career to the University of Florida, and Sarah Miller, who played at USF and professionally in Iceland.
That’s certainly helped him make the playoffs every season, including three state semifinal trips, since his second year at the helm.
But Virgilio, who hails from Bari in southern Italy, was a driving force, too, with his defense-first mindset.
“I like to build from the defense, back,” Virgilio said. “And maybe it’s from my Italian background. ... We’ve always had players to where I’ve been able to score. But I wanted to get the defense and the midfield defensively, and then work going forward.”
That defensive effort was in view Friday with Palmetto (1-12-1) failing to register a shot, while the Mustangs peppered the Tigers with 32 shots.
Among those shots, 18 found the target and an additional two clanged off the crossbar.
Krstec, who is committed to the University of Maryland, rattled tons toward the Tigers’ net.
She bagged six goals to tie Thompson’s program record, which was set during the 2007-08 season.
Krstec transferred to Ranch midway through her sophomore season, but learning under Virgilio has enhanced her game to the point she’s set for a Division I scholarship.
“He’s intense and I love that about a coach,” Krstec said. “I hate when they’re soft on me. I like when he gets on me, so it reminds me to work harder.”