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Huber named as Barons’ new baseball coach
Matt Huber can still recall bringing the Lancaster-Lebanon League championship trophy back to Manheim Central in 2000 when he was a junior second baseman for the Barons’ baseball team.
It was one of the many fond times that he had on the diamond in high school.
In the coming years, the 30-year-old former three-sport Manheim Central star will be looking to add to those recollections as the Barons’ head coach. Huber was approved by the Manheim Central school board at its October meeting to replace Jason Thompson, who stepped down from the post this summer.
“It’s special,” said Huber, a 2001 Manheim Central grad, of taking over as the head coach at his alma mater. “I step on the field and I can still remember the memories that I had there and to now be a part of memories that will be taking place there, it’s just special to be a part of and I’m thankful and grateful for the opportunity.”
The move is a promotion for Huber, who was a Barons’ assistant for the past eight seasons – three as the Barons’ head JV coach and then five as Thompson’s first lieutenant.
Getting the chance to work with Thompson, who was Huber’s head coach as a senior, was a valuable experience in his development.
“You learn a lot as an assistant – from pre-season workouts to workouts during the season, to handling parents and players issues and just interactions with the students,” said Huber, a fifth-grade teacher at Manheim Central Middle School. “I think you’re always continually learning and even though I’ll be entering my ninth year, I’m sure there will be new experiences and new learning opportunities for both myself as a coach and even the players. But without a doubt, it was just great to work under someone (like Jason).”
When the position became open, it wasn’t a hard decision to submit his application.
“I’ve always been interested in helping out players learn the game, and when it was available, my wife and I talked and we felt like it was the right thing to do,” Huber said.
Going to East Stroudsburg University was the right thing to do following his high school days at Manheim Central, where Huber played football, basketball and baseball. He went on to be a place-kicker for the Warriors’ football team in the PSAC before graduating from ESU in 2005.
With his football background, it should come as no surprise that Huber’s philosophy is to play with a blue-collar work ethic.
“I hope that we can characterize ourselves as being a hard-nosed team, a team that’s going to be aggressive, a team that’s going to play all seven innings with our heart and soul and a team that’s never going to give up,” Huber said. “And hopefully, that will give us a chance to be in every ball game.”
Bringing back a core of seven returning starters from the squad that went 16-7 last spring will certainly help to that end as well. The Barons advanced to the L-L semi-finals, where they suffered a 9-6 loss to Lancaster Catholic, and then they were eliminated with a 6-3 loss to Hamburg in a District Three Triple-A first-round playoff game.
“No doubt (I’m excited),” Huber said. “I’m fortunate to be part of a team that already has a heavy load of upperclassmen, for sure, with seniors and juniors … You’re always going to take one game at a time. Obviously, I think every team’s goal is to win a Section title, a District title and a State title and we’ll just take it one game at a time and let the chips fall where they do. If we play our hardest and give it our all, hopefully things will line up in our favor.”
Huber will be joined on his staff by 2002 MC grad Jared Griffith and former Manheim Township All-State outfielder Chris Hartl, who are both returning coaches for the Barons, and David Cooper, a fifth-round draft pick of the Seattle Mariners in 1993, who will be Manheim Central’s head JV coach.