ST. CHARLES – Mark Foulkes was a senior in high school when Len Asquini was the St. Charles High School sophomore baseball coach 24 years ago.
"When he took over [the head varsity job] in 1996, the year after I graduated, he kept in touch with a lot of us that went on to play college ball," said Foulkes, Asquini's assistant coach at St. Charles East.
"I know a couple times, if he couldn't get a hold of us he'd call our parents and ask how things were going for us," Foulkes continued. "We were guys that he had worked with, but didn't directly coach. For him to take the time to do that was pretty impressive."
Asquini, in his 16th season as the head varsity baseball coach at St. Charles East, won his 400th career game in a victory over Glenbard North on April 8.
His first victory as coach was against Barrington, and opposite legendary coach, Kirby Smith. Smith won 522 varsity games as a coach over 21 seasons until he retired in 1998.
"It was an exciting moment," Asquini said.
Asquini, whose teams have won nine regional titles, three sectionals and a state championship in 1999, has helped cultivate a culture of winning, athlete-first and high-level team character over his tenure. The team victories only paint part of the picture.
After Asquini stepped aside following the 2002-03 season due to personal reasons, Foulkes was inserted at the helm after several years of coaching varying levels within the program. Foulkes served as head coach for six seasons from 2004-2009.
"[I've] had some great kids come through, some great coaches and great baseball," Asquini said. "It's been a ton of fun, no doubt about it,"
"He never comes across that it's about him," Foulkes said. "It's always about the kids, it's always about the next game...but the amount of respect the other coaches honestly show for him, it's mind-blowing."
Asquini returned to the dugout in 2012. The fleur de lis – so to speak – aligned.
"From the moment we came back, [it made an impression on me] how many guys [had] big smiles on their faces," Foulkes recalled. "I think they really appreciate what he brings to the table for high school baseball and especially for kids in St. Charles."
Asquini, however, keeps his approach simple moving forward.
"I never think about...really about the end [of coaching], or 20 years from now or whatever," Asquini said. "I'm just trying to get a great experience for the group that we're working with here, and have them remember Saints baseball in a positive manner."