July 10, 2010 11:45:00 PM
The timing was right, so John Wilson decided to adjust and flow.
As a result, the Caledonia High School baseball program has a new head baseball coach.
On Friday, the Lowndes County School Board approved Wilson, a former head baseball coach at Columbus High School and an assistant baseball coach at Caledonia, to be Caledonia High''s next baseball coach.
In addition to taking over the baseball program, Wilson will serve as assistant junior high school football coach. He also will be a physical education teacher at the high school.
Wilson worked for two years as an assistant baseball coach to Kent Farris and for four years as an assistant to Sam Adams. Wilson spent a couple of years away from coaching high school baseball before Adams decided prior to the start of the 2010 baseball season to leave Caledonia to take a job out of the state.
Assistant coach Randy Finch guided the team in 2010, but Wilson decided to apply for the opening when it was posted at the end of the season.
"I have coached baseball for 30 years and have been a head coach for 20 years, and it is one of those things I wanted to do again," Wilson said. "I am here, they had an opening, and it is a pretty good group of kids."
Wilson worked as a head coach at Heard County High School, Troup High School and East Paulding High School in Georgia before spending six years as head baseball coach at Columbus High. He coached at Columbus from 1997-2002 and compiled a 97-84 record. His best season at Columbus was 1999 when the Falcons made the state playoffs and finished 25-10.
He said he enjoyed his time away from being a head coach and that he is eager to get back to teaching players the game and to doing all of the other things that are expected of head coaches.
Wilson praised the efforts of Finch for stepping in and maintaining the program after Adams left on short notice. He hopes Finch will remain with the program to help the younger players develop.
Caledonia High School athletic director Jason Forrester also thanked Finch and said he did a "wonderful" job. He expects Wilson to come in and to help the program make a seamless transition.
"He has been there a while and he felt he was ready to get back into it and that it was the right opportunity for him," Forrester said. "I really think he will do a good job."
Forrester said Wilson is a "fundamentally sound" coach who has the best interests of the student-athletes at heart. He knows the Confederates will succeed if the players give Wilson a chance and if they listen to what he has to say and what he teaches them.
"(If they do that) I think they will see improvement right away and, hopefully, he will get them back to where they want to be," Forrester said.
Even though Wilson hasn''t coached high school baseball the past few years, he has stayed active as a coach with the state of Mississippi''s Junior Sunbelt team. Wilson has worked with former New Hope High coach Stacy Hester the past 12 years to assemble some of the state''s finest juniors to play in the annual tournament in Oklahoma.
Hester, who has known Wilson for more than 20 years, said Caledonia High School is getting a coach he respects and who knows a lot about the game of baseball.
"He doesn''t get too high and he doesn''t get too high strung," Hester said when asked what makes Wilson a good coach. "He''s going to take what he has to work with and do the best he can with them. He is not a real vocal guy, and he doesn''t show a lot of emotion. He is even keeled, and I think that helps him to survive, and I think it is a great quality. I think he''s going to do a good job. I am glad they gave him a chance. He knows people and knows how to treat people."
Wilson hopes to use those characteristics to help rebuild Caledonia High School into a baseball power. He said he is going to be honest with his players and go with the ones who will give the team the best chance to win, regardless of class and experience.
That approach is the same one Wilson has had throughout his coaching career. He said a former coach used the words "adjust and flow" to describe how players needed to buy into his philosophy to have success, and it is one he has followed throughout his career.
Wilson also said a former player best described his coaching style, and he doesn''t see any reason to change.
"His mom and dad were fussing about something and he said, ''Coach Wilson is strict, he makes us stay in line, but he is fair,'' " Wilson said. "He probably said it better than I could. If the kids are not playing I am going to tell them why. I am not going to be ugly or mean about it."
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.