Archive for Thursday, April 19, 2007

Andrews to leave LHS, coach baseball at Oak Park

April 19, 2007

A lot has changed during Troy Andrews' brief tenure as Lansing High baseball coach.

Lansing has acquired a new indoor hitting cage, the program's commitment to summer baseball has improved and parental involvement in the program has increased. LHS also advanced to its first state tournament in 11 years last spring during Andrews' first season at the helm.

After all of those changes, Andrews is about to make a change himself. He was hired April 6 to become the new baseball coach at Oak Park (Mo.) High School. Andrews turned in his letter of resignation at LHS on Monday and informed his players of his decision at a team meeting Tuesday afternoon.

"There's always those opportunities," Andrews said. "This one happened to come : not great timing : but when those things open up, you've got to take a chance. If you don't, they may not have that open forever."

The Oak Park job is a post that rarely opens. Coach Cam Jury is retiring at the end of the season after guiding the program for 21 years. The Northmen have won three state championships (1987, 1993 and 1995) under his guidance and placed third last year. They began this season ranked No. 1 in the Missouri High School Baseball Coaches Association poll and ranked No. 43 nationally in the Baseball America Preseason Top 50.

"I'm going to be under a lot of pressure," Andrews said of the new job.

Andrews said he was pleased Oak Park athletics director Keith Ross was willing to give such a young coach a chance, and Andrews likened it to being hired by LHS activities director Gary Mattingly.

"I felt like they were taking a chance on me there like Gary was taking a chance on me here," Andrews said. "I hadn't had any head coaching experience, and he gave me this opportunity."

Andrews rewarded Mattingly's foresight by leading Lansing to a 15-8 record and state tournament berth last year. Four seniors from that squad went on to play in college. Prior to being a head coach, Andrews was an assistant for nine years at Dodge City High School and one year at LHS.

Andrews said it was difficult to say goodbye to his players and Lansing, but he said the program has a bright future thanks to enthusiastic parent involvement, a quality summer program and a roster loaded with talented young players.

"Everything's rolling in the right direction with this program, and that's good," he said. "You feel like when you're leaving something everything's in place and it's still going to continue."

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