Ronald Vincent: Coach of the year
By JORDAN ANDERS
The Daily Reflector
Sunday, June 18, 2017
It didn’t take J.H. Rose coach Ronald Vincent long to figure out that his team had a chance to be a championship contender this year.
With the majority of its key players returning from a run to the fourth round of the 4-A postseason in 2016, Rose went 23-4, won the Eastern Carolina 3-A/4-A Conference championship and returned to the fourth round in a campaign that earned Vincent this year’s Daily Reflector Coach of the Year award.
“Early in the year, some practices we had in February and the first of March, we came off the field and I remember being with the other two coaches and I would say, ‘This team has really got a chance,’” Vincent said. “Throughout the lineup, these guys could hit and we had guys making such great defensive plays. Around the end of February, we could tell we were going to have a good team.”
The Rampants repaid Vincent’s early optimism by winning their first 12 games of the year. They stayed hot throughout the entire regular season, bolstered by a lineup that smashed the ball from top to bottom. Rose carried a .350 batting average for the year, with nine players batting at least .300 and three posting an average better than .400.
Beyond the offensive firepower Rose carried through the year, Vincent said he was more impressed with the way his team banded together as the season went along.
“It was such a fun season,” he said. “The guys played hard, worked hard. We had great practices and the crazy thing that stands out as coaches is everybody pulled together so much and the team pulled together. That makes coaching so easy. The other thing is how enjoyable it was to watch these guys play. We ran the bases and it was somebody different seemingly almost every night.
“It was one of the easiest teams you’ll ever coach. They really made me look good because of their attitude and because of their hustle. Every day in practice was ‘Let’s get it done.’”
Though this year’s Rampants weren’t able to capture Vincent’s seventh state championship, they did hand him his 900th career win in April, a milestone the coach said is still hard to wrap his head around.
“To look back on it, it’s really unbelievable that I’ve stayed around this long,” he said, chuckling. “It’s really kind of unbelievable that we’ve had so many good teams. It’s just a tribute to the city of Greenville and all the programs that keep good players coming.”
Contact Jordan Anders at email@example.com, 252-329-9594 or follow @ReflectorJordan on Twitter.