When the 2014-15 baseball season starts, Grapeland and Neches will each have a new coach ready for a new opportunity.
For Neches, the Tigers are losing coach Jacob Magee who is moving to Grapeland to coach its baseball team, assist with football and possibly coach some junior high basketball.
In his couple of years at Neches, Magee helped turn the baseball team into a winning program again after finishing last season with a record of 12-10 and just missing the playoffs by one game.
Magee said though he’ll miss the community and people of Neches, he’s excited for the next step in his coaching career.
“Being from Palestine, obviously Palestine is between those two places,” Magee said. “I couldn’t have asked for anything more from a first head coaching job. They went out on a limb and gave me an opportunity when I hadn’t had any head coaching experience yet. It allowed me to prove myself and that I knew what I was doing.
“Those kids were some great kids, too,” he added. “And watching Grapeland in the playoffs and in the summer league, we’re going to have a really talented team this coming year. If these guys put the work in, there’s no telling how good they can be.”
Hard work is something Magee has preached since joining the roster at Neches. He said he hopes to bring a similar spark that he brought to Neches and continue with the successes the Sandies had this past year.
“We’re definitely going to work for it,” Magee said. “The work ethic and the time we’re going to put in is going to be our No. 1 priority. We’re going to work every day at getting better. These kids are a pretty fast team, so I want to try to implement a little bit more of the small ball. In the old Neches district, all of those teams seemed to bunt the ball a lot, and that’s something that I want to bring in here.”