Sports

Reese leaves Spartans for OC

"Mike Reese is leaving his head baseball coaching position at Bainbridge High School to accept a similar post at Olympic College, OC athletic director Barry Janusch announced this week.Reese, who accepted the job from Janusch on Tuesday, was working on a winning tradition in his short tenure at Bainbridge - the Spartans were 49-17 under his tutelage.His team won the Olympic League title in 1999 and he was named the league's coach of the year. The Spartans were West Central District champions that year, and again in 2000. It was a difficult decision, Reese said. I've had nothing but a great time on the island, and have appreciated the community support.I'll continue to live and work on the island and help support baseball here. And I'll still coach the Cobb Baseball team during the summer.Reese's chief assistant at Olympic will be Ryan Rongcal.We work real well together, said Rongcal, a 1994 Central Kitsap graduate who played for two years at OC. I was (Reese's) assistant the first year he was at Bainbridge. We've done camps together, we've done Peninsula Baseball together. We're looking forward to doing this.Rongcal went from Bainbridge to the head coaching position at Central Kitsap - a job he assumed when he was just 23 - where he's been for the last two seasons.It should be fun, Reese said of the new OC coaching hierarchy. It's a good community-based program, and I think we're looking forward to expanding on the success they've had and keeping the tradition they've built there.The key to that, Reese said, will be identifying the top local players and getting them into Ranger uniforms.We've got to win the recruiting game, Reese said. If we're going to get into the playoffs, we've got to go out and get the kids who can play.Both new coaches likely are more familiar with recruiting prospects from the high school ranks than they are with current OC players. Reese said his focus the last three years was squarely on the Bainbridge program, admitting, I think I've only seen (OC) play a half dozen times.Janusch said he feels Reese is the right man for the job.I talked to almost all the local coaches, and they had nothing but good things to say about Mike, he said. He's got lots of energy and enthusiasm, and he's got good ties to the local high schools.Both Reese and Rongcal, youngsters in the coaching trade, said the change from high school to college was a career move.It's a great opportunity, said Rongcal. We'll be able to run the program the way we'd like. It's a chance to move up to the college level.Reese, who played for two years at Big Bend Community College and then at Central Washington University, called the move a personal decision to further my career in the game. I had a good playing career, and now I want to stay in the game and have a good coaching career.Mike's a class guy, said Spartan assistant baseball coach Glenn Kellow. I can't say enough good things about him. He's a program builder and a great role model, what a head coach should be. The guy doesn't let up, there's no compromise with him. He knows how to teach baseball and live it.John Apro, whose son Troy played on the Spartan varsity this spring and is currently on the roster of Cobb Baseball which Reese and Rongcal are coaching this summer, said the coach (has) done a marvelous job with the program. For him to go Olympic JC is a good career move and I'm sure he and Ryan will do well there, Apro said. They're both baseball diehards who taught the kids a lot. Sometimes they can be a little intense for high school kids, but that should be an excellent fit at the college level.Mike leaves Bainbridge with a very strong legacy for next season, Kellow said. There are some very good kids coming back who know how to play baseball and what it takes to get to the state tournament.We've brought the program up a notch from where it used to be. Now there are expectations for success, which is the mark of a winning program. "

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