When it comes to sports, having a worthwhile coach can make all the difference for a player. They are role models and teachers both on the field and off. While sometimes an athlete may have to say goodbye to their coach, it opens the door for some more amazing and skilled coaches in their lives. This proved true for the baseball team with their new head coach, Jake Norman. Living in Virginia looking to move to Florida, Norman interviewed and applied for the position to coach the Titans Varsity Baseball team after Frank Martello’s retirement.
Norman has been playing baseball from age four all the way up to the college level. After graduating from Eastern Mennonite University, he began his coaching career.
“Right after I graduated college and got a teaching position, I started as a JV coach at a high school and worked up to head coach these past 2 years in Virginia,” Norman said.
With about sixty boys trying out this year, everyone was fighting for a spot on the team. Many of the players put in a lot of extra practice and training prior to tryouts this week to try and secure their spot on the team.
“[Prior to tryouts] I worked out on Tuesday and Thursday with a personal trainer and hit every day. On Mondays and Wednesdays, we as a team had conditioning in the weight room and lifted,” sophomore William Quinones said. “Having a new coach, as a player, you want to impress him so that’s what pushed me to always work hard every day.”
With a new team this season, Norman is looking forward to bringing the same accomplishments that the team had last year.
“I want to build on what they’ve had in the previous years,” Norman said. “The last few years they’ve been fairly successful and just building on that and continuing that tradition.”
For some seniors, the transition with a new coach may be a challenge, but senior Mike Sinopoli is willing to put in the effort to make the team the best it can be.
“I think [having a new coach] will benefit us because he’s going to be on top of us and make us work every day,” Sinopoli said. “I’m looking forward to a good season with Norman. He’s a good guy and he had great success at his old school and I hope he brings it here to UHS.”
Overall, Norman has proven to be a great addition the baseball teams. All players, old and new, look forward to his guidance and coaching, many hoping this will foreshadow a good season ahead. While coach Martello’s legacy will live on, coach Norman has already made his mark here at UHS.