Prep baseball coach of the year: Snow Canyon's Reed Secrist
Reed Secrist knows there is only so much he can do from the dugout.
His philosophy was simple during his ninth season coaching the Snow Canyon Warriors: give his players the confidence necessary for them to do the work out on the field.
Secrist coaches his players to recognize opportunities and make the most of them. It's the lessons he's learned from the countless managers he has played for, and it has paid off.
Snow Canyon fought through the losers bracket to repeat as Class 3A state champions.
"These kids like to play with their backs against the wall," Secrist said. "They played hard because they are tough and know how to play through adversity."
As a coach, he'd much rather work on turning double plays than making stump speeches. He keeps his talks short and sweet because baseball is supposed to be fun. All he asks is that they play their hardest and respect the game.
"Coaching baseball is something that I love doing," Secrist said. "It's hard not to get excited when you work with these kids and recognize all of the talent they have."
His players respond to his positive approach to the game. When challenged in elimination games, Secrist got the gritty performances from his players to stay alive.
Of course the adversity the team faced in those games was nothing compared to the tragedy that struck the program last summer when Kreg "K.J." Harrison, a 16-year-old rising sophomore star, drowned in Supai Canyon weeks after Snow Canyon defeated Juan Diego to win the 2012 state championship. But the Warriors rallied around their fallen teammate, even hanging his jersey in their dugout during the state tournament and carrying it onto the field during their celebration after repeating as champs.
Snow Canyon senior pitcher Riley Gates said there isn't a better coach in the state because Secrist is selfless when dealing with his players and prepares them for every game.
"I wouldn't want to have anybody else," Gates said. "I thought he'd hit a peak, but we keep getting better every year."
With a perpetual eye toward next season, Secrist is preparing for summer travelling teams and playing fall ball. He thinks the year-round baseball makes coaching in St. George the best place in Utah.
"I loved 2013, but it is time to start preparing for 2014," Secrist said. "You got to be looking forward, teaching the philosophy and preparing the next batch. It's something that I love to do."