Dynamic Baseball's first Coaches Corner of 2016 takes us to RJ Reynolds High School in North Carolina to sit down with head coach Doug Welch. Welch, the long time coach for the Demons looks to lead his young and inexperienced team to successful season in 2016. Please enjoy today's Coaches Corner with coach Doug Welch.
Coaches Name: Doug Welch
High School: RJ Reynolds
City/State: Winston Salem, NC
District/Conference: Central Piedmont
School Mascot: Demon
How many years have you been coaching, and what got you into coaching?
I have been coaching HS baseball for 22 yrs. 20 yrs at RJR as head coach. Ultimately, I always knew I wanted to coach, but I did not have any idea I would also be a teacher. I finished my pro career in 93. I was asked to coach in the Chicago Cubs minor league system, but I declined and wanted to go to physical therapy school. I had a degree in biology and minor in chemistry. I applied to physical therapy school at Winston Salem State Univ.(first yr of the program and at that time it was a BS degree). My 3.2 GPA was too low even though I already had a degree and spent 5 seasons in pro ball after 4 season in college ball…and felt I lived the profession of physical therapy..LOL! Soon thereafter, I was working camps for George Greer at Wake Forest University, and was encouraged by other coaches working the camp to look into teaching and coaching. I did just that and went lateral entry and was hired by WSFCS school system and started coaching as varsity asst. at MT. Tabor HS. 2 years later, I was named head baseball coach at RJR by then principal Stan Elrod. I am in my 20th year now.
What would you say the most rewarding thing about being a baseball coach is?
Most rewarding is, without question, watching this age kids maximize their potential. High school age kids have passion. In 20 years, at a 4A public HS in NC, I have had 40+ kids tryout for my JV/V teams, only 2 times. Our numbers are very small, but our hearts are very big. The players that commits to the weight room 3 times a week starting the 1st day of school at 6:45am(end of August – February)…the player that attends all optional workouts, including BOOTCAMP when our temperatures are often below freezing and into the teens…the player that loves baseball for baseball, that is the most rewarding thing for me…I will take those guys are wins any day.
How do you balance the time demands of coaching, and being with your family?
I have the greatest and most beautiful wife ever, Robin….she knows I love baseball and gives me freedom…even more than that, she gives me ENCOURAGEMENT, to put the time in to all my baseball that makes me happy and helps my school and my program. BUT, when I am at home, I am with my family…and my son also played for me at RJR, so it is definitely a family affair!!
Who is the best player you have ever coached, and who is the best player you have ever coached against and why?
I am biased to this question because I was blessed to coach my son, Logan…so he was my favorite:)…I have had many players that were SUPER players but mostly I have been blessed with super kids!!! Some went on to play various levels of baseball all the way to the SHOW, many many went on to excel in school, and almost all are good people in society.
What does the term being a good teammate mean to you, and why is it important?
I want all the players I coach to be competitive, to hate losing. Compete every day for a job…If you get beat out, you accept it and cheer your team on…and then, at next practice, compete like crazy to win that job back. A good teammate does not bring his team down in any way. NO ONE likes to strike out or make an error or ground out back to the pitcher with bases loaded…but sulking or cussing as you run past 1B, or throwing a fit, or throwing equipment… is only selfish and it will bring your team down. Controlling your emotions, encouraging your teammates, and then the desire to be back in the “pressure situation” is the sign of a good teammate and a mature player.
What kind of team do you think you will have this year? Please list top players coming back, and top newcomers, and what do you feel they bring to the table, and why?
2016 could be described as a rebuilding year for RJR. The Demons only feature 1 returner who hit over .300, and 1 pitcher with varsity experience…NO WORRIES!! We are very excited about the 2016 squad. We embrace the label ‘dark horse’. These guys are so motivated and full of energy, I have no doubt this year will be a lot of fun to coach. All our voluntary workouts–BOOTCAMP was full every day, the weight room clangs with metal and loud music 3 times a week at 6:45 am(since September 1….4 mornings a week in November and December)…these guys can’t wait to get on the field! Day 1 after Christmas break, it was 17 degrees and the Demons were playing baseball. They train together, they laugh together, and sometimes they puke together…but they are TOGETHER!! I can’t wait!!
Review your conference for us. Who will be your toughest opponent in your conference this season?
Arguably the best conference in NC. The Central Piedmont Conference year after year puts teams deep into the playoffs. The state champion very likely will come from the CPC as it did 2 years ago.
What are some big match ups on your schedule that stand out to you and why?
The big match ups come from within conference. Almost every team is capable of beating any team at any given time. North Davidson is the favorite with 8 returners from last year's final 4 team including the pitcher of year, multiple D-1 commits, and future draft picks. Reagan HS will feature 3 D-1 arms, Mt. Tabor, West Forsyth and Davie will all feature big arms and bats and athletes all over the field…The CPC is stacked.
We also will play powerhouse Glenn HS, and State contender High Point Christian.
What are your goals for you team this season?
Goals for the Demons…make every team hate to play us. We will be young and overall inexperienced. Physically outmanned by a lot of the teams we play, but no one will have more heart. We have nothing to lose, so we have no caution. We can play lose and unpredictable, that make us dangerous.
If you had a day away from the baseball field what would you spend it doing?
LOL…driving to UNC to see my son, Logan, play for Coach Fox…driving to watch my 9 year granddaughter, Caralina compete in her cheerleading competition…driving to see my daughter, Crystal, and her family to watch my 14 month old granddaughter, Trinity, who started walking recently…. or watching my grandson, Zander, play a little baseball…or taking my smokin' hot wife, Robin, to the movies or to get hot wings.
Give us a little preseason prediction. Who is going to win the College World Series this year, and who is your preseason pick to win the MLB World Series and why on both accounts?
AGAIN, very biased–College–UNC( they hv a freshman RHP named Welch on their team…not to mention their coaching staff rocks!)
MLB–yikes??? how can you predict that?? So many trades, so much unpredictability…but whoever it is will PITCH like crazy and have the fewest injuries…