Brown right man for the job
When HiToms President Greg Suire called to inform me the club was announcing the new head coach, he said I would be intrigued by who it was.
I immediately started going through the list of possible candidates, thinking this needed to be someone who would bring some fire and passion back to a franchise that has been average since winning three straight Petitt Cup championships from 2006-08. Some former players came to mind at first — well, only after I jokingly said it would be Jack McKeon, who managed the HiToms in 1968 and eventually won a World Series with the Florida Marlins.
Speaking of former managers, Alan Beck, Ryan McCurry and Matt McCay crossed my mind. These three gentlemen each won a title with the franchise and any one would make a great fit. But Suire had another man in mind.
Upon arriving at the clubhouse last week for the press conference, out walked former player and HiToms Legend Zach Brown. Not since the 2006 championship season had I seen Brown, but I remembered exactly who he was. It was at that moment I thought to myself, “this is the right guy.”
Brown played the game with heart and was a competitor throughout. A story Suire told to the media that day paints a picture of the determination and confidence Brown has.
Thomasville had just lost to Fayetteville in the playoffs to end their 2005 season and the team was boarding the bus. Former General Manager Jared Schjei, and Suire were standing at the door of the bus and Brown was the last to board. Brown looked Suire dead in the eye and says, “I am coming back next summer and we are going to win one for you,” then he gets on the bus.
That next summer he did return, putting in one of the greatest seasons in CPL history. He hit 12 home runs, led the league in total bases and was second with 44 RBIs. To cap it off, he helped lead the Tommies to their first ever title at Asheboro’s McCrary Park.
Described as a leader by Suire, Brown is taking over a team that has gone 98-120 since the last title. The two are already building for next summer. With an approach of getting big bats and strong pitching arms, they are looking to bring that high level of excitement back to Finch Field.
The summer cannot get here fast enough.