LAURINBURG — The Scotland High baseball program officially has its man.
The Scotland County Board of Education formally approved the hire of 34-year-old Chad Hill at its regular meeting Monday. Hill becomes the school’s third head coach in the past 22 years.
“I can’t wait to meet the players — I’ve talked to a couple of the coaches, I’m looking forward to meeting the rest of the coaching staff and getting started,” Hill said. “The waiting game is the worst part of everything so now that everything is finalized, it’s time to get to work.”
Hill said Scotland’s storied baseball history led him to apply for the vacant position.
“Growing up, there were so many guys I saw that came from there that were big-time Division I prospects, guys that were drafted, and I just thought that was a great tradition and I’d like to join in on this.”
Hill has a background in career and technical education and is also certified in physical education. He plans to teach weightlifting and web design classes at Scotland in the fall.
He’s spent the past nine seasons at Union Pines, where he began his coaching career.
The Vikings finished 11-14 overall last year and placed fifth in the 3A Cape Fear Valley standings with a 6-6 conference record under Hill, advancing to the semifinals of the conference tourney before falling to Terry Sanford.
In 2014 Union Pines won its first Cape Fear Valley conference tournament championship, defeating the Bulldogs in the title game.
Along with the one conference tourney title, Hill has paced the Vikings to two Cape Fear Valley regular season championships during his tenure. Union Pines has qualified for the postseason six times under Hill, and he steered the club to a 20-win season in 2011 when the Vikings advanced to the quarterfinals of the 3A playoffs.
Hill said he will fondly look back on his time with the school that gave him the chance to enter the coaching industry.
“I’d definitely like to thank the administrators for giving me the opportunity and backing me in everything that we tried to accomplish,” he said. “Most importantly, the kids came to work hard everyday and you can’t ask for more than that, so it’s kind of bittersweet leaving because I’m leaving a great place behind.”
Hill takes over a program that was previously coached by Jamie Coleman, who was hired to the same position at Hoke High School two weeks ago.
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 reached the playoffs twice in three years under its former coach, qualifying for the postseason in 2013 and this season.
Coleman replaces former Bucks head coach Michael Ray who retired after the season.
He was proceeded by the late Tommy Britt, who coached the Scots from 1992-2012 before leaving his post to focus on his responsibilities as the school’s athletic director. Hill said he played for Britt for two years in the North Carolina state games, and is honored to take over a program that was built by someone he idolizes.
“It’s kind of surreal right now,” Hill said. “He’s a great baseball guy and I’m definitely going to put my heart and soul into continuing what he built and hopefully 20 years from now, I can be a part of this Scotland tradition as well… .
“I’m definitely excited to network with people. Hopefully they can put a face with the Scotland baseball program coming up through the future and for awhile. I look forward to meeting everyone in Laurinburg.
And he has a message for the Scotland faithful eager to catch a glimpse of the team in 2016.
“Plan on coming out to the spring for some baseball games,” Hill said.
Logan Martinez can be reached at 910-506-3170. Follow him on Twitter @L_Martinez13.