By day, Dr. Darrell Troast works with kids. By night and weekends, Dr. Troast … works with kids.
Troast, 58, has been a Fort Myers, Fla. pediatrician for 27 years. He sees 25 to 30 youths, ranging in age from infant to 18, every day. When he hangs up his white coat for the night, he often heads to softball practice, where he has been coaching for four decades.
“Often times on Opening Day of Little League, when I’m called onto the field and recognized and I talk to the crowd, the next few weeks I’ll have people come up to me and say, ‘I didn’t know you did Little League,’” Troast said.
Amateur sports have been a big part of Troast’s life since he was a kid. Growing up he played football, basketball and baseball along with brothers Douglas, David, Dwight and Dwayne in Pequannock Township, N.J. Their father was a Little League president for many years and “kind of got us all interested in that,” Troast said.
Doug now is the Little League president in Pequannock Township while Dwight is a vice president. Darrell Troast went into coaching — something he began 40 years ago, before going to college or medical school.
Troast learned first-hand about team and individual sports from three of his five daughters. Twins Hannah and Samantha, as well as their sister Rebecca, played softball for their dad, although all three took up rowing when they started school at the University of Florida.
Troast continued coaching, though, and he’s on a pretty good roll. Since 2010, his Big League teams have made it to regionals every time. Three times they went on to the Little League World Series, with a top finish of fifth.
Troast thinks he has a recipe for success.
“Girls 16-18 have a lot of things going on,” he said. “They’re graduating from high school, starting college, working. What I try to do with Little League is tell them this can take some of the pressure off and they can have some fun.
“My girls played travel ball since they were 10. When you’re playing on a travel team, there are university coaches watching you and you’re under the microscope. It’s totally different. You’re out there to win.”
When coaching all-star players, Troast said they are as young as 14 and as old as 19, because they were 18 before the Jan. 1 deadline. There are chemistry issues that need to be worked on. That’s where Troast’s experience as a pediatrician pays off.
“I find a balance in talking to kids and their parents, that’s my job all day long,” he said. “We handle issues about development, behavior, academics. Issues are brought up every day with all different kinds of age groups.
“And my experience as a pediatrician gives me realistic expectations about what I want to see on the field.”
“I love helping them out and taking care of kids,” he said. “That’s part of being what I am.”