Joey Haston will be coaching baseball next year, but it won’t be at Warren County High School.
Haston turned in his official letter of resignation on Wednesday morning after agreeing to take an assistant coaching position with Southwest Oregon Community College.
Haston served as the Pioneers head coach for one season, leading the team to a 10-17 finish. Haston was also with the team in 2009, when he served as the pitching coach for coach Jimmy Walker.
Haston graduated from Warren County High School in 2004, where he was an all-district pitcher his senior season.
Haston found leading his high school alma mater to be a challenge, but hopes the program can continue in the right direction after his departure.
“It was a challenge, but a good learning experience,” said Haston. “I only hope things will get better for the program though.
“The guys on the team are quality young men.”
Haston will serve as the pitching coach for the Lakers. The opportunity came after one of Haston’s former college coaches was promoted to head coach at Southwest Oregon Community College.
Haston first met Jason Cooper while pitching for Delta State University. When Haston was starring on the mound for Delta State, Cooper was a graduate assistant. After serving a few years as an assistant for the Lakers, Cooper is now the head coach in Oregon and asked Haston to be his assistant coach and pitching coach.
The departure of Haston was a sudden move and leaves the Pioneers in search of a head coach for the third straight year. Haston followed a one-year stint by Jimmy Walker, who went 5-22 in 2009 and decided to end his comeback after one season.
Walker had replaced J.W. Holt, who served as the Pioneers coach from 2004-08. Holt had originally replaced Walker as head coach when Walker stepped down after the 2003 season.
The coaching change means the 11 seniors currently on the roster will have their fourth head coach in four seasons. For most, including senior Derek Brumley, Haston’s departure was a surprise.
“It was a shock,” said Brumley. “It’s crazy to think we’ll have had four coaches in four years.”
Warren County High School athletic director Todd Willmore was very complimentary of Haston, who helped the Pioneers improve by five wins despite having a team filled with mostly underclassmen.
“I think Joey did a great job with what he had, which was a very young team,” said Willmore. “Joey did a good job of developing his team, making the kids accountable and promoting an upbeat team atmosphere.”
The search for a new head baseball coach is already underway. Willmore will be making his third hire for the position during his time as AD.
Willmore hopes the hiring process can be swift and is looking for a person who can guide the program for years to come.
“We’ve began the process for looking for a new coach and have a game plan in mind,” said Willmore. “When you hire somebody, you’d love to say they’ll be here for 20 years, but that’s not how it always works out.
“We’re looking to bring some consistency back to the program.”
Willmore estimated 10 people had contacted about the open position, while the school has already made a few calls. With school beginning Aug. 15, Willmore hopes the coaching vacancy is filled.
“We’d like to have a person in place in the next week to 10 days, but we’re going to explore our options,” said Willmore. “The timing is tough with school approaching, but we’re moving forward quickly.”