LAURINBURG — Scotland High School has taken the next step to hiring a new baseball coach.
After fielding 19 applications for more than two weeks, the school brought in several candidates for interviews Tuesday, according to athletic director Richard Bailey.
“We interviewed five candidates (Tuesday) and three more on Thursday,” he said. “After that, we’ll sit down and make a decision or we may have a second round depending on what the committee is thinking.”
Bailey said he hopes to have a coach on board by the middle of next week.
“It’s important for our baseball program to get somebody in place as soon as possible.”
Once the hire is made and approved by the school board, they will take over a program that was previously coached by Jamie Coleman, who was hired this week as Hoke County High School’s baseball coach.
Coleman resigned on May 28 after leading the Scots to an 11-8 record this season and a third-place finish in the Southeastern Conference. Scotland County Schools posted the job opening the following day.
He paced the Scots to two playoff appearances in three years, qualifying for the postseason in 2013 and this season.
Scotland’s next hire will be its third for the baseball program 22 years — former athletic director Tommy Britt, who passed away last May, took over in 1993 before leaving his post as head baseball coach in 2012 to focus on his AD responsibilities. The school then tabbed Coleman as his successor.
Bailey said after Coleman’s resignation that the school’s administration is placing an emphasis on hiring a candidate who is a strong family man that can easily relate to the players.
“We want somebody that’s a obviously a strong baseball coach, but we also want somebody that’s going to be strong in the community and reach out to our youth programs and continue to be committed to building upon the success that we’ve had … to continue to build that bridge from the tee-ball leagues up to high school.”
At Hoke High, Coleman replaces former Bucks head coach Michael Ray, who retired after the season.
Hoke finished 3-18 last season, 0-10 in the Southeastern Conference, and closed the year on an 11-game losing streak. Coleman led the Scots to three blowout victories over the Bucks, including an 11-0 victory in the first round of the SEC Tournament.
Hoke is set to return its only all-SEC performer, outfielder Jacob Rushing.
Coleman will also serve as the defensive coordinator for the Hoke football team. He was an assistant for head coach Richard Bailey last year, helping Scotland finish as the top defense in the conference.
The Bucks compiled a 4-7 overall record and a 1-4 mark against SEC opponents. The defense allowed 38.8 points per game last season, and graduated two of its three all-SEC players on that side of the ball in Justin Baldwin and Ameer Shakir.
Logan Martinez can be reached at 910-506-3170. Follow him on Twitter @L_Martinez13.