Eastside names Brad Weir as baseball coach

Photo by Howard Reed

Photo by Howard Reed

COVINGTON -- Eastside's baseball coach Brad Weir may be new to Eastside but he is not new to coaching.

Weir has been a head coach for 15 years with the last few at Wayne County where the Yellow Jackets made it to the second round of the Class AAAA playoffs the last two seasons.

In 2009, the Yellow Jackets eliminated Alcovy in the first round of the playoffs in the third game of the series.

At the end of the last season, Weir was ready to hang up his cleats and take some time off while he worked on his master's degree. Then he saw that there was an opening for a head coach at Eastside.

What made this position appealing was that it's closer to his home town of Ringgold, he wanted to be nearer to his family, and the contact name on the job posting.

"When the job popped open I looked and it said Rick Hurst (Eastside head football coach). I thought 'Oh no,'" Weir said. "I've known Rick for 10 years. Just the lure of getting to work with Rick did it."

During their talks, Hurst expressed that he really wanted to bridge the gap between the two sports as well as get more players involved in the two.

"I feel like if a kid plays football there's a toughness there you can't teach anywhere else. That's an environment I can't duplicate on the baseball field. Those kids are mentally tougher, they're physically tougher and that takes up into other sports. We'd like to have them involved in that," Weir said.

Having been approved by the school board on July 20, Weir did not have a chance to have a summer workout with the team. Even though he is currently busy with the Eagles football team, he is not allowed to coach or have any dealing with those players as far as playing baseball is concerned. But that does not mean he will not be keeping an eye on their strong points and where they may need to improve.

"They're going to play in a fall league on Saturdays so I'll be able to go watch. At least I'll get to see some of them play and I'll sit there with my little notebook and take notes on them," he said.

While the Eagles were successful, with the former coach and staff making it to second round of Class AAA playoffs, this is going to be Weir's staff. Besides a change in head coach, no coach associated with last year's team will be in the dugout this season. Former Newton players David Allen and Casey Daniels will now be on coaching duty along with a yet unnamed third coach.

"We have a guy that's on the football staff and he's thinking about it," Weir said.

For Weir, everything goes back to fundamentals. Once Weir and staff are able to start getting the team together, he plans on not only taking about fundamentals, he plans on going one step back.

"We go back to square one. How to throw a baseball, how to grip it -- we just start all over," Weir said. "We're really fundamentally based. We teach a lot of fundamentals in pitching and defense. Everyone talks about having guys that throw 90 miles an hour and this kind of stuff. I have never had that. We do what I call pitch to contact. I want you to hit it to us because we're going to play great, great defense. We're going to really enforce that."

The other reason to go back to step one is because with the elimination of the aluminum bats and the introduction of the BBCOR bats the game as the players know it is going to change.

The games will be closer, and having to cover bunts and playing small ball will be more important than ever. No longer will a cheap home run determine the outcome of a game.

"We had one when I was leaving Jessup and I got to swing it. It's actually going to be like the bats that I used to swing when I was in high school in 1989 and everyone had the Easton Black Magic and the green and white Easton bats," Weir said. "It's going to be back to that. You're going to have to earn a home run. So we're really going to push the weight room on the kids."