Archive for Thursday, May 25, 2006

Coaching vacancy filled by Toot

May 25, 2006

Eric Toot is back coaching basketball at Baldwin High School, but he has switched genders.

The Baldwin Junior High School teacher was hired as the BHS boys' basketball coach Monday, less than one year after resigning from the head girls' position.

"I am very excited," Toot said. "I have always had my eye on this job. It's always a job that I thought I would want. This job definitely isn't a stepping stone for me, this is a job that I can see myself staying in for a long time."

BHS Athletic Director Gary Stevanus said Toot was a great choice for the position of boys' basketball coach.

"He is a very good fit," Stevanus said. "Coach Toot is a long-time Baldwin resident and grew up here. It's his hometown. He loves the high school and Bulldog basketball. He is excited to take over the reigns."

Sophomore Brandon Tommer was happy to hear Toot was named the new coach.

"He's a perfect fit," Tommer said. "He has been in Baldwin a while, so he knows everybody. It's not like we are bringing in someone from out of town. I like his style of play and how he is defensive minded."

Last June, Toot resigned from the BHS girls' coach to become the assistant women's basketball coach at Baker University.

"When I took the Baker job, I didn't see it as long term," Toot said. "I thought it was something that I needed to try at that point in my career. I liked it, but this job has always been a long-term goal of mine. I just didn't think it would be open this soon."

Toot said the time that he was spending at Baker was much more than he anticipated when he took the job a year ago.

"The time commitment was a lot more than I had expected, because of the recruiting part of it," Toot said. "Even being a head coach at the high school takes a lot of time. The college season is lot longer and there are a lot more nights on the road. The road trips are longer too."

The boys' head coach job opened up a month ago, when former coach Heath Cooper resigned after two years on the job. The opening sparked Toot's interest, but he was hesitant.

"I think there was immediate interest, but I had to think about it for a while, because my experience at Baker was good," Toot said.

At Monday's school board meeting, Toot was approved as the coach. Stevanus thought the timing of the hiring was good for Toot.

"The timing was good because we were able to get it done in time for coach Toot to get started on a summer program," Stevanus said. "It also gives him time to do the extra little things he needs to do to build a successful program."

Toot said he is ready for the new job, but said he will have the summer to work on his coaching philosophies.

"I think I am ready for it," Toot said. "I will have this summer to make any adjustments for myself as a coach that I think I need to make."

The last time Toot coached boys' basketball was during the 1996-97 season. Toot was the freshman boys' coach that season. He went on to coach freshman girls and varsity girls' basketball for eight years.

He doesn't feel the adjustment to boys' basketball will be much for him to handle.

"I think so, just at the beginning," Toot said of making adjustments. "I don't think it will be a long process of adjusting. There are differences between the girls' game and the guys' game, but overall basketball is basketball. I am not really worried about that part of it."

Toot said he hopes to help build the boys' program through all levels, since he plans on remaining coach for a while.

"The one thing I want to do is bring some stability to the program," Toot said. "I am going to be the fourth coach in seven years and that's not good for a program. I am just hoping that the younger kids know that I will be here for a while."

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