WESTPORT — The Staples girls’ tennis team has proven the past two years to be one of the best programs in the state.

A major reason for the success has been the consistent level of comradery and having strong, talented players.

But there has been a single person at the forefront of the program that has worked to keep it all together - Coach Paco Fabian, who was recognized as the FCIAC girls’ tennis coach of the year during the week.

“I really think it’s a testament that the girls on our team are having fun,” Fabian said. “That’s what we’re really promoting.”

It is the second time this school year that Fabian has been named conference coach of the year after winning the award during the winter season as the Staples girls’ basketball coach.

But it has been in the spring season that players have understood the importance of having a leader like Fabian at the helm.

“He really deserves it,” Staples freshman and No. 1 singles player Alyssa DiMaio said. “He helps us so much. He never gives up on us, even when we’re not playing well or in a tough situation.”

A freshman, DiMaio has stood out on the Staples tennis squad during a run this season that has been nothing short of special.

Under Fabian, the Wreckers posted a 24-1 record this season, just one year after winning the Class L state championship.

Although Fabian said the individual acknowledgment is nice, the most rewarding things comes from knowing that the student-athletes that play for him are having the best time.

“We really changed,” he said. “Just having a positive atmosphere in both the sports. We want these girls to enjoy sports at Staples High School.”

It has been that philosophy that has directly impacted the members of the tennis team. DiMaio said her and her teammate have grown together — in both victory and defeat — thanks in part to Fabian.

“It was tough last week,” she said. “I felt a lot of pressure as the last match deciding the FCIAC title. But Paco was there for me and the team. And although I loss, I know that my team and Paco was really proud of me.”

While winning is always nice, Fabian has found a way through his philosophy to combine the fun with the competitive.

The results have been impressive, but he said it all boils down to one thing, no matter the season or sport.

“Being positive and trying to have a little more fun throughout the season with both sports has really benefited us,” Fabian said. “As serious as these sports are we want these girls to love playing on high school teams.”

ajohnson@hearst

mediact.com; @aronJohnson_