Shane Roberson, most recently Signal Mountain's softball coach, has been hired to replace Ted Mulder as Hixson High School's baseball coach.
While softball was a unique experience for Roberson, the Hixson job offered him a chance to return to his first sports love.
"Bats have changed but the game hasn't," he said. "It's about fielding and pitching and baserunning."
Roberson previously served as baseball coach at Sequatchie County and also spent time with baseball at Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe. He will be an exceptional education teacher at Hixson.
"I followed Shane when he was at Sequatchie County, and I knew him when he was at Lakeview. He is a great communicator, and he knows baseball really well," Hixson athletic director Brian Bray said. "Shane relates well with students, and he can deal with parents. I think he's the guy to rebuild the program."
Having a baseball coach on faculty is a luxury Hixson hasn't had recently. The Wildcats, in fact, will have both Roberson and baseball assistant David "Pudge" Haynes on faculty.
"That's the first time that's happened in 10 years -- since I came as John Plumlee's assistant coach," Bray said.
Haynes, who will be teaching social studies, is a Hixson graduate and was a senior on Bray's first Wildcats team.
Bray is hopeful that the two can rebuild a program that has fallen on hard times. There are plans to revive immediately the school's junior varsity program, which fell by the wayside a couple of years ago as participant numbers dropped to all-time lows.
"We want to be able to get the program back on its feet and rebuild the JV program, and we want our coaches to be able to build relationships with the players," Bray said. "The [baseball] facility speaks for itself, and when you have this kind of facility the program needs to be in the same neighborhood. Shane is a good baseball coach, and he's also a good person. He has the same visions as the administration."
Roberson has been described as a demanding but understanding coach.
"I know kids are going to make mistakes, but hopefully they'll learn from those mistakes," he said. "Baseball is a lot of repetition to perfect technique. You want to minimize your mistakes and capitalize on the other team's mistakes."
Ward Gossett is an assistant sports editor and writer for the Times Free Press. Ward has a long history in Chattanooga journalism. He actually wrote a bylined story for the Chattanooga News-Free Press as a third-grader. He Began working part-time there in 1968 and was hired full time in 1970. Ward now covers high school athletics, primarily football, wrestling and baseball and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling. Over a 40-year career, he has covered ...