ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DON RATZLAFF
Citing a need to improve his abilities to coach, Phil Oelke has resigned as head coach of the Hillsboro High School baseball program.
Oelke’s decision comes on the heels of taking his 2003 team to the Class 3A state tournament and being named Class 3A “Coach of the Year” by the Kansas Association of Baseball Coaches.
“A lot of things went into the decision,” he said. “I felt there were some areas as a coach that I was a little short on at this point, and that I needed to pick up.
“I felt like this was a time that I needed to step back. With the talent I’ve had, I didn’t feel I had produced quite as well as I should have-and there were a lot of other issues that went into this that I needed to address.”
Oelke has been the Trojans’ only head coach in the five-year history of the baseball program. During that time his teams compiled an 82-31 win-loss record for a winning percentage of 72.5.
He said the graduation of a large senior class this spring and the prospect of having an inexperienced team next year did not enter into his decision to step away.
“With the kids that are coming back and the kids who are coming into the program, they’re going to be pretty solid,” Oelke said. “I can see that next season is going to be down a little bit, but with those younger classes coming in, they’ll be pretty solid pretty quickly.”
Oelke said he will continue his regular teaching position at Hillsboro Middle School and will continue to be involved with HHS baseball.
“There will be things that still need to be done,” he said. “There’s always going to be a need for stat keepers and someone to keep books and work the field.”
Oelke said he might consider accepting the coaching position again if he feels he is ready to re-enter the profession.