CPL: Love named next skipper of HiToms
When one door closes another one opens. Former High Point-Thomasville HiTom Austin Love III is ecstatic a new opportunity has opened for him.
Last season, the 2001 team member for the Tommies got his first coaching opportunity with the Coastal Plain League's Wilson Tobs. On Tuesday, he was introduced by HiToms president Greg Suire as the newest manager of the Chair City club. He becomes the fourth former player to take the head job.
“When you look at Austin's experience, commitment and reputation he has in the coaching fraternity – I am thrilled to have him here as our head coach,” said Suire.
Love guided the Tobs to a 29-24 overall record, but failed to make the playoffs under new rules. Prior to being manager in Wilson, he was an assistant head coach and recruiting coordinator for the North Carolina A&T Aggies for seven seasons. Now, more than a decade after donning a HiToms uniform, Love will once again take the diamond at Finch Field.
“I am extremely ecstatic to be here,” Love said, with wife Jennifer and infant son Ace in attendance. “Our goal is to continue the tradition of winning championships here. They will tell you down in Wilson that my wife and I spell fun 'W-I-N' because we have a high standard for ourselves. That is the kind of attitude we are going to bring to the team here.”
His return to the area seemed to be fate with the chain of events that took place. With his first child on the way, he expressed interest in the job with the HiToms with Suire, who is also the team president in Wilson. The two talked often throughout last season and built a close relationship. Though interested, the job was not open at the time because the coaching staff of the HiToms remained intact. But when skipper Zach Brown informed Suire he would not be back, it was an obvious choice to bring Love in to fill the vacancy.
“I was a bit shocked,” Love said. “I expected the coaching staff to return from last year, and after having several short conversations with my wife about going back to Wilson, I just said I would love to be in Thomasville if something changes.”
Everything eventually fell into place, and barring any job opening that may lure him away from the organization, Love expects to stick around for a while.
“To me it is something that can develop and it is not just a one and done or two and done,” said Love. “If I am fortunate enough to be able and go back to college baseball to coach, great. But I hope to be here in some capacity as head coach or working in the front office. This is home.”
Love currently teaches math and will manage the baseball team at Parkland High School in the spring.
Sports Editor Zach Kepley can be reached at 888-3631, or email@example.com.