Estancia High has hired Marcus Franco as its head softball coach, girls' athletic director Jessica Gatica said Thursday.
Franco was an assistant for Estancia this past season but head coach Judd Fryslie stepped down after the season to focus more on his career.
Franco, 44, said he was offered the position Thursday and he felt very blessed to accept, noting that it's been a long road.
He took 2010 off from coaching after his wife gave birth to their son, Sean, who is now 18 months old.
"When you have a child you have a different perspective," Franco said. "It's a real blessing and I think it's made me a better coach."
Previously, Franco was the Costa Mesa High head coach for two years, in 2008 and 2009. He led Mesa to a combined 25-26 record and a CIF playoff berth in 2009, which was the program's first since 2003. The Mustangs have since made the playoffs the last two years under Coach Nichole Maddox.
Franco remains a math teacher at Costa Mesa.
"I love the Estancia family and I love the Mesa family," said Franco, the former baseball coach at Armijo High in Fairfield. "It's a wonderful district to work in. On the teaching side I'm a Mustang, and on the coaching side I'm a full-blooded Eagle."
Estancia had just three players with varsity experience this year. The Eagles finished 5-20, 2-8 in the Orange Coast League, and Franco said he will work to build up the program. Bigger picture, he said he wants to work on a softball feeder program for Newport-Mesa schools.
"Girls who are coming to Estancia, Mesa, [Corona del Mar] and Newport Harbor should already have the softball experience," he said. "When they're freshmen and sophomores, they should have opportunities to be scouted. It's not happening right now. It's an uphill battle."
Gatica said Fryslie plans to keep helping out with the girls' basketball team he has co-coached with Xavier Castellano.