After providing the area with the early favorite for 2011’s Inside Railroad Job of the Year award—a category they’ve dominated for some time now-- Lakeside High School has found their man to fill the baseball coaching vacancy. They didn’t have to thumb through their evaporating Rolodex long to find a name very familiar to the program.
The last time we heard from Jay Matthews on the high school level, he was leaving as Lakeside’s Head Baseball coach and moving over to Riverside Middle School. It was a move that had more to deal with the full-time commitment expected of a high school head coach than wins and losses. You can only slice the pie so many ways before you run out of it, and as much as he enjoyed the day-to-day with the players, increased attention was necessary at home for the time being.
"It's an opportunity to continue to coach and work with kids, but in the same sense, you don't have the 12-month commitment it takes for the high-school program," said Matthews. "It's something, when my kids get a little bit older, I may give another shot."
You can get a formidable read on a coach by listening to what his fiercest competitors have to say about him. And at the time of his resignation for Matthews, that sample size was vast.
“Jay’s a competitor.” said Evans Coach Ricky Beale,” It will be different going over there and not seeing him in a Lakeside uniform.”
Even the iconic Jimmie Lewis of Harlem had something to say on the prospect of Matthews not returning to coach on the high-school level, "If he don't, it will be a travesty. He needs to be in the high-school ranks somewhere, because he's a dang good coach."
Well there you have it. A former player and coach from the school who is well respected and liked by his peers as well as his competitors. An amiable guy who is finally back in a position where he can log the hours necessary of a head coach. Let me speak for this local high school baseball fan in saying good luck, but as you know, beware.
While cheers from the stands during games might sound a lot like, “Let’s go Lakeside!” or “Big bats this inning, Panthers!” You already know what you’re actually hearing is, “Tread softly or reap the booster’s club big stick, coach!”
With the Jaguars baseball team making their recent push to the conference championship game, they’ve shined a light on what an impressive year it’s already been for ASU. And the success doesn’t even include what the golf team, ranked 6th nationally, has done because they play as an independent. That means they basically play the entire regular season with a huge target on their back. But more on them in a minute.
Including the Jaguars appearance in the Peach Belt championship baseball game, they became the fourth ASU team in 2010-11 to advance to the league’s championship game, joining men’s basketball, softball and men’s tennis.
And while I have Joey Warren, ASU’s indefatigable Athletic Media Relations Director, to thank for reminding me of that last stat, I also must pass great thanks to the members of the baseball team who gave us an endearing story whether we were ready for it or not.
Now it’s onto the NCAA Regional for Head Coach Josh Gregory and Co., as they begin defending their title in Ocala, Fla., as the No. 2 seed in the three-day 54-hole regional. They must finish in the top five to advance to the NCAA Championships. Best of luck to the Jags.
ASU Golf Schedule
Note: All rounds take place at Golden Ocala Golf Club, Ocala, Fla., All Day
Thursday, May 19 NCAA Florida Regional—First Round
Friday, May 20 NCAA Florida Regional—Second Round
Saturday, May 21 NCAA Florida Regional—Third Round
• Live scoring available at www.golfstat.com
--While Ashton Kutcher should fit well into his new role on “Two and a Half Men,” Rob Lowe would have been a home run.
--Hey, Carlos Santana. There is a better way to go about doing things. Shut up and just play the guitar.
--Book Recommendation: “Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand. Do it.