A successful team comes down to more than winning ball games.
Producing players with good character who are quality citizens is also an inherent part of high school athletics.
Softball coach Gooby Martin and baseball coach Phillip King are doing just that at Warren County High School. The two head coaches spoke to members of The Rotary Club of McMinnville on Thursday and brought a few players with them to the luncheon.
“Obviously baseball is important,” said King, “but when you look at our team one thing that stands out is academic success. Our team GPA was 3.72 and the GPA for our senior class was 3.87. When you look back, you can point out to people that you won this many ball games. But preparing these kids to go into the world is also a big part of it.”
Coach Martin echoed those comments and stressed playing softball is more than throwing strikes and hitting home runs.
“It’s about the experiences and the friendships you make,” said Martin. “I still remember the friends I made playing sports and still keep in touch with some of them.”
A big part of sports is also winning games and both coaches are good at that too. Martin has been at the helm of WCHS Lady Pioneer softball for six years and says the program has earned a long list of program firsts during that time.
Those firsts include:
• The first regular-season district championship
• The first district tournament championship
• The first region tournament win
• The first region tournament championship
“We also hosted our first sectional game and we were one win away from the state tournament,” said Martin, who finished with a 19-7 overall record last year.
It was King’s second year as head coach of WCHS baseball and the team finished 22-13 overall and won the regular-season district championship.
King said he is proud of the 14 seniors on that team and called them “kids of character.” He said he would like to see more bleachers added around the baseball stadium to accommodate more fans and make seating not so cramped.
King added that one emphasis this year was making home games feel more special by having prominent members of the WCHS athletic community throw out the ceremonial first pitch. That included football coach Matt Turner, boys basketball coach Chris Sullens, and Director of Schools Grant Swallows.
For further comments from coach King and coach Martin, a 25-minute “Focus” interview can be heard on WCPI 91.3 public radio. Program air times are this Tuesday at 5 p.m., Wednesday at 5 a.m., Thursday at 1 p.m., and Friday at 1 a.m.