The Ridgefield High baseball team’s new head coach won’t need an introduction to his players.

Mike Scarlett, the program’s junior varsity coach for the last four seasons, was recently named as varsity coach ahead of the 2020 season. Scarlett replaces Paul Fabbri, who resigned in-season last May following two suspensions.

Scarlett served as interim varsity head coach during both of Fabbri’s suspensions last year.

Dane Street, the athletic director at Ridgefield High, said that Scarlett was hired after an extensive interview and vetting process. “We had a strong pool of candidates for the position,” Street wrote in a letter announcing Scarlett’s hire.

“[Mike’s] passion for the game, vision for the future of the program, and knowledge of not only baseball in general but our players and community in particular were evident during the interview process,” Street wrote.

A 2000 graduate of Ridgefield High School, Scarlett has coached in the town’s Little League, Babe Ruth and American Legion programs. He served as an assistant freshman coach at Ridgefield High for two seasons (2007-08) and was the JV coach at Immaculate High School in Danbury for one season (2013).

Scarlett was an instructor at Baseball Plus for four years (2002-06) and has been providing private instruction for 20 years.

“In terms of coaching, the opportunity to help others learn about and improve at a sport that I love so much has always been a major draw, particularly given that some of those dynamics were often lacking when I was playing,” Scarlett said. In the end, it all comes back to making the experience enjoyable.

“Baseball is a sport and it is fun to win, yet it is also a game and many of the memories we all have from the teams on which we played are often of times that are not the games or championships themselves,” Scarlett added. “I often think back to the terrific team dynamics in which I have been fortunate to have been involved as a coach and am looking forward to the opportunity to do the same at RHS.”

Last season was a turbulent one for Ridgefield. In early April, Fabbri and two assistant coaches were placed on administrative leave pending a police investigation into a fire at Governor Park, Ridgefield’s home field. Fabbri and his assistants were cleared of any wrongdoing and returned five days later.

The fire — set by a group of people in a misguided attempt to dry parts of the infield before a game April 6 — caused around $40,000 in damages. No arrests were made, and anonymous donations covered the town’s expenses.

Fabbri and an assistant were placed on administrative leave again following Ridgefield’s loss to New Canaan on May 8. The two coaches were not with the team the next day for a game against Norwalk.

Administrators did not cite reasons for the suspensions, although several parents said it stemmed from comments Fabbri and the assistant made to players.

Fabbri then resigned May 16, one day after the end of the regular season.

Scarlett returned as interim coach for Ridgefield’s 2-1 loss to Trumbull in the first round of the Class LL state tournament. The Tigers finished the year with a 12-9 record.

“From a purely baseball perspective, we return many players who have filled important roles at varsity over the past few seasons and are eager to help the team bounce back to the heights found in 2017-18,” Scarlett said, referring to Ridgefield’s run to the Class LL state finals. “We also have a great group of coaches who have been impressed with the excitement level shown by the players and are looking forward to the chance to help them achieve their goals.”