LAURINBURG — Last season could not have started much worse for the Scotland baseball team, as they lost five of the first six games. That rough stretch was also the start of Jamie Coleman’s head coaching tenure with the Scots, as he had taken over the program in the summer of 2012 after current Athletics Director Tommy Britt retired from coaching.
Coleman said the early struggles of last season helped him reevaluate a few things about his coaching. He worked with Britt as an assistant coach for the varsity baseball team for the last 12 years before being named to the top job, but the transition from assistant to head coach is a big one.
“I’d be lying if I said it was what I was expecting. I just chalk it up to experience and a learning process. I thank God that it was maybe not the wins and losses, but the other stuff I went through as far as the struggles early with a senior-laden group,” Coleman said.
The Scots managed to recover and have a successful season, reaching the state playoffs and the Southeastern Conference tournament final, where they lost to Richmond 2-0.
“I think it forced me to look at myself and coach a little different. Especially when we struggled losing five out of the first six games. I think that forced me to reevaluate myself and open my eyes to some of the things that we could do better and then prepare to make those adjustments during the summer. It was a very, very interesting year with that being said,” Coleman said.
Coleman said the aspect that took the most time to adjust to was third-base coaching. He spent almost all of the game in the dugout as an assistant coach, helping to signal pitches to whomever was throwing for Scotland on the mound. But the as the head coach, he stands out by third base.
“You see and you do a lot from a bucket but when you’re actually out there coaching at third base and it’s live bullets, that’s a big adjustment. There’s no dugout coaching experience that can prepare you for that,” Coleman said. “That’s been the biggest adjustment, and early on it was a challenge. But it’s getting better and I’m more confident now because I know my kids more so I feel good about that.”
Coleman’s experience with Scotland baseball goes deeper than just coaching, as he played for the school before graduating in 1993. In his senior season he played in center field and hit for five home runs with a batting average of .440. He also led the team in RBIs that season, when they split the conference championship with the Raiders. He also played on the football team as a quarterback and defensive back.
He went on to pursue a career in professional football before returning to Scotland County in 1999, and joining the baseball program as a coach in 2000.
Coleman’s second season in charge will officially open on Tuesday when the Scots take on the Bulldogs of Terry Sanford. The first pitch for that game is scheduled for 5 p.m. Terry Sanford won two-of-three against Scotland last season, including a 3-0 win in the second round of the state playoffs. The Bulldogs won the first meeting 3-1, while Scotland picked up its win by a 3-2 final.