Flowers makes historical past as first Black head coach of Centennial baseball | Sports activities
CHAMPAIGN — Sam Flowers utilized to change into Centennial’s baseball coach after Kyle Herges’ tenure led to 2009.
It didn’t work out, with former Chargers standout Wealthy Hyde chosen.
Flowers put his identify within the ring once more after Hyde vacated the job in 2013.
No cube, with Ryan Remole getting the nod.
So when Remole introduced earlier this 12 months he was stepping away from the Chargers, would the third time be the attraction for Flowers?
Sure. However there’s extra to Flowers’ story than going from groomsman to groom.
After his rent was authorized by the Unit 4 Board of Training earlier this week throughout its assembly, Flowers formally grew to become Centennial baseball’s first-ever Black head baseball coach.
“That’s fairly large,” Flowers mentioned Wednesday afternoon, a day after he celebrated his forty sixth birthday. “Once I did discover out, I used to be type of actually shocked and I mentioned, ‘Hey, that’s going to be a giant load for me to hold, however I’m prepared for it.’ I’m enthusiastic about it.
“I do know they’ve had a Black soccer coach, Lekevie Johnson, after which they’d the late Coach (Coleman) Carrodine for basketball. So, I imply, with me being the primary African-American baseball coach there, it’s large for Centennial.”
Flowers beforehand spent 15 years, between 1998 and 2012, in freshman and junior varsity roles on the Chargers’ baseball workers. He returned for the COVID-19 pandemic-shortened 2020 marketing campaign to revise his function as JV coach. Flowers was concerned with seven 20-win seasons as an assistant, in addition to three regional championships and this system’s 1999 Class AA state match berth.
When Remole determined to go away Centennial baseball’s high job to spend extra time along with his household, Flowers mentioned it took “no convincing in any respect” to attract out his utility for the function.
“We had already had a dialog, Remole and I, that when he stepped down that I’d in all probability be the subsequent one in line and that he would endorse me,” Flowers mentioned. “I believed that with my expertise at the highschool stage, after which teaching journey ball as nicely (with the Illinois Braves) with the identical age vary group, I believed that I used to be nicely certified for the place.”
Flowers finally labored alongside 4 head coaches — Stan Lewis, Herges, Hyde and Remole — earlier than making the job his personal. Flowers additionally had two sons, Jammion Legal guidelines and Sam Flowers Jr., play for the Chargers.
So to say Flowers has been round Centennial baseball for a major period of time could be an understatement.
“The interview course of, I used to be nervous once I first walked in,” Flowers mentioned, “however as soon as the primary query hit and I began to speak, all of the nerves type of went away. And once I obtained the cellphone name that I obtained the place, I used to be actually overwhelmed with pleasure and pleasure.”
Flowers mentioned he’s taken items of teaching knowledge from every of the aforementioned former Centennial baseball coaches he’s labored with, in addition to from opponents on the diamond over time. That mentioned, Flowers has loads of his personal ideas to drill into the Centennial athletes when their season begins April 19.
“The groups that I’ve had previously … we at all times come out with quite a lot of power,” Flowers mentioned. “We’re going to play the sport prefer it’s presupposed to be performed. We’re going to have enjoyable doing it, however we’re going to play quick and we’re going to hustle on a regular basis.”
Quickness didn’t outline Flowers’ street to the highest of the Chargers baseball meals chain. It wasn’t his time to shine when Centennial management as a substitute opted for Hyde and Remole.
That modified in 2020, and Flowers was capable of make historical past within the course of.
“That didn’t deter me from making use of once more when the place got here open once more,” Flowers mentioned, “and this time I used to be profitable.”
Colin Likas is the preps coordinator at The Information-Gazette. He might be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter at @clikasNG.