By KEVIN HARRIS
> SOUTHERN INDIANA —
Clark County will have two new high school baseball coaches patrolling Southern Indiana dugouts next spring.
Former Henryville standout Jared Hill has been named the new manager at his alma mater. He replaces the all-time winningest coach in Hornets’ baseball history in Jeff Schroeder, who confirmed to the News and Tribune last week that he has resigned.
Clarksville will look to one of its alumni to revitalize its baseball program. Jamie Knight, a 1983 Clarksville graduate, has taken over the Generals from former coach Chris Kane.
Knight is the fourth Clarksville manager since Hall of Famer Wayne Stock retired as Generals’ coach in 2003. Stock compiled a 744-492 record in his 39 seasons at the Clarksville helm.
During Stock’s Clarksville tenure, the Generals won 20 Mid-Southern Conference championships, 12 sectional titles, 12 Stan Sajko Invitational crowns and five regional championships. Stock guided the Generals to the 1971 IHSAA State Finals.
SCHROEDER THANKS PLAYERS AND COACHES, SUPPORTS HILL
Schroeder compiled a 357-192 record in his 21 years at Henryville. He guided the Hornets to 10 Southern Athletic Conference championships and all six of their sectional titles, which each occurred as a Class A school.
Schroeder built the Hornets into a consistent winner after they went 0-21 in his first season in 1993. He led Henryville to a winning record in 19 of his 21 seasons, which included nine 20-win campaigns.
Schroeder’s overall record in 23 seasons, which included two years at Silver Creek, was 373-228.
“I’ve been fortunate. I had a great bunch of kids and I had no parental problems,” Schroeder said. “When I took over, Henryville did not have a lot of success in the past few years before I got there. In the first year, we had no wins. But with the kids and coaching staff I had over the years, I think we built a pretty good program. I think we turned out some good kids.”
Schroeder gave a couple of reasons for resigning as the Henryville skipper.
“It’s been something that I’ve been thinking about the last three or four years, and I felt it was time for me to step away,” he said. “I’ve got two children in high school now that play sports, and I’ve missed out on some of their things the past few years.
“I’ve been frustrated the last few years with coaching. The kids have changed and the parents have changed. I coach a certain way and they don’t seem to understand that. My job is to get on kids and motivate kids.”
Schroeder is keeping the door open to possibly return to coaching.
“I’m never going to say I won’t coach again,” Schroeder said. “If a good opportunity comes up, I might consider it. I don’t want to give it up, but I don’t want to come home mad from a loss when the kids don’t care.”
Hill has been Schroeder’s assistant coach for the past six years. Hill is looking forward to the opportunity to lead the Hornets from the third-base coaching box.
“I’m very, very excited,” said Hill, who is a language arts teacher at Henryville. “When coach told me that he was stepping down and that I should apply for the job, I was honored by that.”
Hill, a 2001 Henryville graduate, said he did not want to say goodbye to his alma mater for a head coaching job at another school unless it was a great coaching opportunity.
“I never wanted to leave — I’m a Henryville guy,” Hill said.
Hill, who played four seasons under Schroeder from 1998-2001, said he has gotten lots of guidance from the former Henryville manager the past six years about the coaching profession.
“I learned so much from him,” Hill said. “Probably the biggest thing is getting your kids to compete. You’ve got to show that killer instinct, and I learned that when I played for him.”
Schroeder thinks Hill is ready to take over the reins at Henryville.
“I’ve got a lot of faith in Jared,” Schroeder said. “He has a lot of knowledge about the game. He’s got a tough road ahead of him as we lost five seniors from last year’s team. But he will work hard at it.”
Hill says finding replacements for his seniors from last year’s 15-11 team will be a challenge.
“We lost lots of senior leadership,” Hill said. “We lost our top three pitchers, and that’s going to be tough to replace. We’ll have seven or eight players competing for those spots in the spring.”
Hill was a standout player at Henryville, as he still holds the Hornets’ all-time records in home runs (29) and RBIs (130). Hill led Henryville in batting average in 1999 (.442) and 2000 (.482).
Hill also was a four-year player for the Hornets’ boys’ basketball team and played for the boys’ tennis team.
KNIGHT WANTS TO RETURN GENERALS TO PROMINENCE
Knight has been displeased with how much Clarksville baseball has struggled the past several seasons. The Generals went 6-19 last season and has not won a sectional since Stock’s final season in 2003.
Knight will make a point to his players that they should embrace the program’s successful history.
“I’m disappointed in the way the program has played the last few seasons,” said Knight, who played baseball at Clarksville from 1981-83 as a pitcher and a third baseman. “I just want to return it to a successful status. I have a lot of pride for the community. I’m going to educate the kids about the past of Clarksville baseball. They need to understand our past success.”
Knight, who is not a teacher in the Clarksville Community Schools Corporation, says one area of concern about the baseball program is the low amount of players. The Generals only had 14 players on the roster last year.
But Knight hopes the numbers will increase in upcoming years as he said there are 15-18 players in the Clarksville Middle School baseball program.
“Our No. 1 objective is to get our numbers up,” Knight said. “We’ve got to try to start a [junior varsity] program.”
Knight was the JV coach at Floyd Central last season, his only year coaching in a high school program.
But Knight has several years of experience coaching at several levels. Knight says he has coached the national pastime since he was 18 years old. He has coached Little League and in high school fall baseball leagues. Knight also has been the associate coach of the Floyds Knobs American Legion Post 42 baseball team, a program he started, for all seven years of its existence.
Knight is a firm believer that executing the little things will win games.
“I’m a big believer in throwing strikes and putting the ball in play,” Knight said. “I believe in moving runners over late in the game, and that’s by bunting and stealing bases. I’m a believer in playing small ball. I’m a defensive coach. I take a lot of pride in doing what it takes to make plays in the field.”
Knight is a retired Louisville Metro police officer and lives in Floyds Knobs.