Storm football players enjoy coaching baseball

by Ben Frotscher

After a first-year record of 13-13 and reaching the district finals, Head Baseball Coach Josh Lullman and Assistant Head Coach Josh Erickson will be coaching their second year at Albert City-Truesdale High School.

Lullman and Erickson are seniors at Simpson, yet in the summer they coach their hometown baseball program together. Both are Storm football players and were on various sports teams at Albert City-Truesdale together, including baseball.

“Three years ago I was the assistant coach and then he [the head coach] got a different job elsewhere and I applied for the job and got it,” said Lullman.

Erickson said that Lullman told him that he received the position of head baseball coach at Albert City-Truesdale. “I asked Josh if he had an assistant and he said that he didn’t have one and that I should apply,” said Erickson. Last year was Erickson’s first year to experience coaching of any kind.

Although coaching is a lot of fun for them, problems do arise. Last year, the team had 15 athletes to split between junior varsity and varsity.

“We’ve always had enough kids out,” said Lullman. Last year, the varsity played its games first because of the small amount of numbers out and also because kids were playing both junior varsity and varsity.

The small amount of athletes playing sports makes team numbers a challenge. Albert City-Truesdale is one of the smallest schools in the state. But the team’s numbers aren’t bad for the amount of kids that the school has enrolled.

For the 2002-2003 season, 53 students were enrolled in grades nine through 11. “The numbers are so low, that if you go below (the numbers you have), you wouldn’t have any athletes,” said Erickson.

This doesn’t seem to bother either one of the coaches, since they put in a lot of work for the baseball season. “It is a pretty big commitment,” said Lullman. During the summer, he also had a full time job. Erickson said that he probably put in as much time as Lullman, even though he is the assistant coach.

They have practice and also have to keep the diamond in good shape.

The two have also been developing their coaching techniques along the way.

“It’s a combination of all the coaches I had in high school,” said Lullman. Through their four years in high school, both Lullman and Erickson were involved in a lot of sports.

“I’ve seen both sides of the spectrum and I’ve seen why they make the decisions that they make,” said Erickson. He also said that he has had to learn how to work with younger kids and coaching them, since he didn’t have any prior coaching experience.

Lullman said that he has also taken on a new appreciation of college coaches. “It has made me appreciate what college coaches have to do. There are so many factors and many things go unnoticed that they do,” said Lullman. Lullman was assistant coach at Albert City-Truesdale for one year before taking on the head coaching job.

“When you are playing, some of the techniques you use come natural to you and when you try to teach them [the players] this, it is hard to. You take it for granted,” said Lullman. He said that coaching wasn’t that stressful and that his first year went by very fast.

Lullman also sees himself having a future in coaching. He is a history major and would like to teach and coach at the high school level.

Erickson is an accounting major, and said that he would like to coach in the future, but it would be tough with his major.

This year, Lullman expected about 20 athletes to be out for the baseball team. Practice starts on May 5 for the teams. This year might be the last year for both Erickson and Lullman as coaches of the baseball program at Albert City-Truesdale, since they are both graduating from Simpson and will try to find full-time jobs.

This year the season has 26 games in addition to tournaments throughout the season. The season starts for Erickson and Lullman on June 2, against Laurens-Marathon.