Turnaround earns Coleman Coach of Year

May 24, 1992|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,Staff Writer

Terry Coleman, The Howard County Sun's Baseball Coach of the Year, is not a meek coach.

He'll quickly challenge an umpire's call -- sometimes vociferously -- if he disagrees with it. And he has been known to chew out a player in public for a mistake in the field.

But, like the good psychology teacher he is, Coleman will take a player aside privately and soothingly explain a problem or decision. Coleman seems to understand how teen-agers think. He can motivate them and communicate well with them.

The 44-year-old dean of county baseball coaches needed that special communication this year.

Glenelg appeared to have a good, but not a championship-caliber team heading into the season.

The defense and pitching seemed strong, but the offense was highly suspect and speed was nearly non-existent.

And that's precisely the way things played out.

Glenelg produced a fine team ERA of 1.71, and except for two games in which it made 14 errors, the defense was as good as any Coleman has had in his 13 years at Glenelg's baseball helm.

The team batted only .255 and scored just 83 runs. None of Coleman's previous teams had ever scored fewer than 100 runs. Even last year's squad, which went 7-13, scored 100. And two of his teams scored as many as 159 runs.

This year's team also stole only 28 bases, fewest ever by a Coleman team.

"We've had as many as 92 stolen bases," he said.

But somehow Glenelg turned around last year's losing season -- only the second for Coleman -- and stole a share of the county title this year. Glenelg also won county titles in 1983, 1984, 1986 and 1987.

The Gladiators won regional titles in 1983 and 1989 and are the only county team to win a state title (1983).

The season's turning point was a stretch of five straight games decided by 2-1 scores. Glenelg won four of those, including an extra-inning victory against co-champ Atholton.

Coleman's teams are always fundamentally sound, and that was never more evident than during that stretch.

Teams don't produce a 163-100 record based merely on coaching, however. And Coleman is the first to admit that a coach never drove in a run or struck out an opposing batter.

"The credit goes to the players," he said.

And he's had some great ones including Greg Smith, who is playing for Triple-A Toledo, Robbie Smith and Mike Hawkins.

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