looking to turn around struggling team
After five years as an assistant coach for the Clovis baseball team, Brian Cronk
has headed out on his
own, taking the reins as head coach at Herschi High School
in Wichita Falls, Texas.Cronk
has had many stops in his
baseball journey, but the latest one will present his
biggest challenge as he
tries to build a winning baseball program at a school that has not won a game in two years.
"There are good kids here," Cronk
said."Just not too many baseball players."Cronk, a former college and minor league infielder, thought at 28 the timing was right to try his hand at being a head coach.
"I didn't want to live my life as an assistant," Cronk
said last year the Huskies only had enough players to field a varsity team, and they play a tough 3A schedule, so there is a lot of work to be done.
"We are going to start at the ground level," Cronk
said."We need to learn the basics and start building a program from the bottom up."Hirschi's
new coach said he
only wants players who are serious about learning the game.
"I'll play with nine players for the whole season if that's all I can get," Cronk
said."I want kids who are going to devote their time and effort.I tell them, ‘If you don't want to be here, then you should go home.'"Cronk
players listen closely to him because they know he
has a baseball background.
"They are intregued by my history," Cronk
said."They think, ‘Maybe this guy knows what he's
played junior college ball in Glendale, Ariz., then played two years at Eastern New Mexico.He
was drafted to the Pittsburgh Pirates, playing in their minor league organization for two seasons.He
coaching career as an assistant for ENMU
second year in the minors, Cronk
started thinking less about playing the game and more about coaching it.He
started paying more attention to the coaches and the decisions they made during a game.Cronk
has learned things at each level that he
will bring to the bench at Hirschi
"I pulled some of the concepts and theories from each of the teams that I've played on or coached," he
said."You try and make them your own."Cronk
thinks the key to building a successful team is the players believing in the coach's program.
"I want them to buy into my philosophies," Cronk
said."I teach hard work, not to cheat yourself, and discipline.The biggest thing is discipline."
said the Huskies aren't ready to compete for a state title, he
thinks they will be a much better team than they were the last two years.
"I want us to be fundamenially sound," Cronk
said."I want us to make strides in the right direction and go from there.We're gonna compete."
said, is what will bring in talented players.
"If we start playing good baseball, and we run a good program," Cronk
said, "people are going to start saying, ‘Hirschi actually has a baseball team.'"