TERRE HAUTE —
Chris Barney knew what qualities he wanted as he was searching this winter for a new assistant baseball coach at Vincennes University.
He wanted someone familiar with his program and his coaching style, someone from the Wabash Valley area who understood the state’s high school and American Legion programs, someone who had played several different positions in the field and also someone who had made a successful transition from junior college to Division I baseball.
It didn’t take him long to realize that Cole Vicars was his man. The 2007 Terre Haute South grad excelled for VU in 2008 as an outfielder and 2009 as an infielder, then moved up to D-I at Alcorn State — where he dusted off his pitching arm and helped hurl the Braves into the NCAA Tournament in 2011.
Vicars spent the past two years coaching a Terre Haute South summer travel team and completing his history degree requirements at Indiana State. He’s now ready to take his coaching career to the next level.
“After finishing my playing career I decided I wanted to become a baseball coach, but realized I needed to graduate before doing so,” he said. “I really enjoyed coaching the South team the past two summers with Shane Abrell, and I knew I wanted to continue to coach at the collegiate level.”
Vicars heard that the VU position came open, and immediately went to work on landing it.
“I gave coach Barney a call letting him know I was interested in the position,” he said. “After going through the interview process I was lucky enough to get offered the job and get started with my coaching career.”
Barney is thrilled to bring a former VU player back to the program, and has a lot of different jobs in store for Vicars.
“He’ll be involved in all facets of the program, working with pitchers, hitters, infielders and outfielders as well as staying busy with recruiting,” Barney said. “I’m pleased that we’re able to give an alumnus an opportunity to get his foot in the door at the collegiate coaching level and it allows him to chase his passion — coaching the sport of baseball.”
South coach Kyle Kraemer has known and coached Vicars for a majority of his life, and predicts success for him at the collegiate level.
“Cole will do a great job and is a great fit as an assistant coach for coach Barney and Vincennes University,” Kraemer said. “I believe Cole’s biggest and best attribute as a player, and will surely be as a coach as well, is his tremendous competitiveness. This is what I remember most about Cole.
“I am quite sure Cole will take this same competitive approach to teaching and coaching the pitchers and infielders as well as recruiting for Vincennes University.”
Kraemer also recalled that while Vicars was not an imposing physical figure on the athletic fields, his skill and toughness overcame any such obstacles.
“Let’s not forget his athletic ability in leading the boys basketball team to the Final Four as a 5-foot-8 point guard and also leading the baseball team to the sectional title,” Kraemer pointed out.
Vicars played for three different coaches in college, and figures to adopt some of all their methods — along with those of Kraemer — in developing his own personal style.
“I’m going to use the different aspects I learned from them three that helped me achieve success as a player,” Vicars said. “I’m excited to get my coaching career started and thankful coach Barney has given me the opportunity. I played under coach Barney as a sophomore so I’m familiar with his coaching style and believe it’s a great fit for me to start my coaching career.”
Vicars said his long-term goal would be to become a D-I head coach, but he also wouldn’t mind either the D-II or junior college levels.
Barney added that Vicars is the epitome of “the right fit” for the job.
“We’re extremely pleased to welcome Cole back to VU,” he said. “His relationships with coaches in the state all give him a great network to help us with recruiting.”
• • •
• Greene starts pro career — Rockville graduate Luke Greene will be heading to the wide open spaces of Montana this summer to begin his career as a professional baseball athletic trainer.
Greene graduated May from Northern Kentucky University with a degree in athletic training. Last summer, he took an internship with the Kansas City Royals, and after returning home the Milwaukee Brewers offered him a job as the trainer for their Pioneer League team in Helena, Montana. He will be joining the team later this month for spring training in Phoenix. He is a 2008 Rockville grad and played his first two collegiate seasons at Lake Land College. Greene worked this winter as an athletic trainer with Clay Community Schools.
• Combs to SMWC — Riverton Parke High School senior Kelly Combs has signed a national letter of intent to play softball for Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College next fall.
“It is honestly my dream come true,” Combs said. “I have wanted to play for St. Mary’s ever since I was a little girl.”
Combs plans to study elementary education and gain a minor in Mild Intervention (special needs) at SMWC.
“The student-to-teacher ratio is small there, like it is here at Riverton. I think I’ll feel really comfortable there.”
Combs hit .402 in her junior season and has been named to the all-Wabash River Conference team three times.
She is the second RPHS player to sign with SMWC in the last year as former Panthers star Sarah Burnham is now on the Pomeroys’ roster after spending a year at Wabash Valley College in Mt. Carmel, Illinois.
• Chew honored — North Vermillion grad Bethany Chew, a third-year St. Louis College of Pharmacy student, received the Daktronics NAIA Scholar-Athlete Award at the school’s fall sports awards banquet recently.
Chew was the No. five runner for the STLCOP this fall, and helped the team to a fourth-place finish in the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference meet.
To be eligible for the award, athletes must maintain a 3.5 grade-point average as a junior or above.
Joey Bennett is a former Tribune-Star sports reporter and copy editor who now teaches at Northview High School in Brazil. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Vincennes assistant coach remembered for his toughness
TERRE HAUTE —
Chris Barney knew what qualities he wanted as he was searching this winter for a new assistant baseball coach at Vincennes University.
- College Report
College report: Valley softball pair help Ball State start off with 12-2 record
Two Wabash Valley products have helped the Ball State softball team get off to a 12-2 start, including five straight wins last weekend to capture the Louisville Slugger Invitational at Arizona State.
College Report: Valley pair square off in softball pitching duel
Administrators and coaches long ago scheduled the East Tennessee State and Indiana University softball teams to both compete in the Georgia State Panther Invitational in Atlanta last weekend. Little could they have realized, however, that a Sunday afternoon pitching matchup between the two teams would pair two successful, blonde, and versatile performers from western Indiana in a head-to-head clash.
College report: Versatile Vicars set to help VU baseball program
Chris Barney knew what qualities he wanted as he was searching this winter for a new assistant baseball coach at Vincennes University. He wanted someone familiar with his program and his coaching style, someone from the Wabash Valley area who understood the state’s high school and American Legion programs, someone who had played several different positions in the field and also someone who had made a successful transition from junior college to Division I baseball. It didn’t take him long to realize that Cole Vicars was his man.
College report: Terre Haute pair Berry, Comer to boost Sycamores’ lines
While many people have varying opinions on the most important position on a football team, most old-school gridiron veterans would consider strong line play as a necessity for anything else to work — kind of like pitching in baseball and guard play in basketball.
College report: Wabash Valley hoops pair earn MVC weekly honors
Two Wabash Valley natives picked up big honors this week from the Missouri Valley Conference for their excellence on the basketball court. Evansville freshman Sara Dickey of Riverton Parke earned the league’s Newcomer of the Week for the third time while Loyola sophomore Matt O’Leary of Terre Haute North was chosen as the league’s Scholar-Athlete of the week.
College Report: Mahurins playing major role for Indiana Wesleyan
R.J. Mahurin, a senior at Indiana Wesleyan, was selected as the Crossroads League’s Men’s Basketball Player of the Week for the period of Nov. 24-30.
The fifth-year senior from Rockville led Indiana Wesleyan, then ranked No. 2 in NAIA Division II, to an 88-82 win over No. 9 Bethel last month in the Crossroads League opener.
Mahurin scored 33 points on 12-for-18 shooting from the field, including 7 of 10 from 3 point range. He also recorded seven rebounds and two assists while knocking down both free throws in the contest.
COLLEGE REPORT: Former WRC football standouts playing key roles for No. 1 Mount Union
It’s a huge jump from the Wabash River Conference, one of the smallest leagues that plays high school football in Indiana, to Division III national powerhouse.
But two Wabash Valley standouts have made that leap and are significant contributors for top-ranked and defending national champion Mount Union (Ohio).
College Report: North grad enjoying sophomore season at Virginia Tech
A.J. Hughes had an admittedly up and down freshman season as the punter for Virginia Tech’s football team, but the sophomore from Terre Haute North High School has elevated his game like one of his long, hanging left-footed punts.
Hughes ranks first in the Atlantic Coast Conference in punting with a 44.8-yard average per punt, a 4.7 increase over last year and a lofty number that ranks him ninth nationally.
College Report: South graduate becomes Wabash College swim coach
Brent Noble’s climb up the collegiate swimming coaches has taken another big step, after the Terre Haute South grad was recently named the new head swimming and diving coach at Wabash College in Crawfordsville.
Noble joins the Wabash program after serving for a year as the women’s head swimming coach at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn.
College Report: People with Valley ties getting up-close look at top-ranked Crimson Tide
Trivia question: What do Trent Miles, A.J. Hughes and Johnny Manziel have in common?
Maybe nothing right now, but after Saturday they will all have played against the top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide already this season.
Manziel has no known local ties, but was involved in the most-hyped game of the year last month as Texas A&M fell just short in a late comeback against Alabama.
Hughes, a sophomore punter for Virginia Tech from Terre Haute North, did his part in the Hokies’ 35-10 season–opening loss to the Tide.
Turner hoping to prove himself in junior college
Jeffrey Turner hopes a couple of years at junior college will do for his basketball career what it did for Derek Shouse.
COLLEGE REPORT: Watson, Seliger move on in strength and conditioning careers
Three members of the Indiana State athletics strength and conditioning staff, including two from Terre Haute, have advanced their careers and moved on to other opportunities.
Daniel Watson, former graduate assistant from Terre Haute North, has been hired by Rocky Mountain College to serve an assistant football coach and the head strength and conditioning coach.
Matt Seliger, also a former graduate assistant and North Patriot, has been hired by Athletes’ Performance in Frisco, Texas, to serve as an intern.
Longtime Butler assistant stays loyal to new job
Matthew Graves waited patiently for nine years as a member of the Butler men’s basketball staff for his chance to be a head coach.
COLLEGE REPORT: Several Valley standouts busy with baseball
Several of the Wabash Valley area standouts now in college baseball are busy with summer league teams.
COLLEGE REPORT: Kentucky baseball star Reed earns All-SEC
Kentucky sophomore baseball standout A.J. Reed of Terre Haute South Vigo High School earned first-team All-Southeastern Conference honors in voting by the league coaches for the recently completed season.
- COLLEGE REPORT: Wabash College All-American relay team has TH flavor
Catching up as the school year winds down
Odds and ends from here and there as the school year quickly winds down. For starters, high jumper Nick Jaeger of Terre Haute South was named the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference’s male track & field newcomer of the year:
College Report: Lively earned collegiate upgrade with strong play
Hillary Lively signed to play Division II basketball at Maryville (Mo.) during her senior year at North Vermillion, but those plans changed and she would up at nearby Danville Area Community College — where she recently concluded an outstanding two-year career.
Lively was impressive enough to earn a Division I scholarship to Southeast Missouri State of the Ohio Valley Conference, and both her future and past college coaches think she will continue to succeed there.
“She fits what we need,” SEMO coach Ty Margenthaler said. “She has college experience, she is strong and physical and plays well around the basket and moves well.
“Her strength, rebounding and touch around the basket will be a big help. On the defensive end, she’ll be able to guard a true center.”
COLLEGE REPORT: Valley prep athletes getting ready for next level
The NCAA “regular” signing period begins Wednesday for all sports except football, field hockey, soccer, track and field, cross country and men’s water polo.
COLLEGE REPORT: Conferences honor Valley softball players
Several Wabash Valley area college softball players have been honored by their respective conferences for outstanding play this spring.
COLLEGE REPORT: Jake Newton makes big impact for Lincoln Trail College
Jake Newton had a long time between playing in competitive basketball games, a span of about 18 months, and used the frustration from that long dry spell to produce a stellar freshman season for Lincoln Trail College this winter.
COLLEGE REPORT: A.J. Reed earns SEC Player of the Week honors
After belting three home runs during a five games last week, Kentucky sophomore left-handed pitcher/first baseman A.J. Reed was named Southeastern Conference Player of the Week.
COLLEGE REPORT: Spring newcomers making marks
Several freshman baseball and softball NCAA Division I players from the Wabash Valley have already made immediate impacts at their new schools, while others are waiting for their turns to shine.
COLLEGE REPORT: A.J. Reed named third-team preseason baseball All-American
Two-way sophomore standout A.J. Reed was one of three University of Kentucky players named third-team preseason All-America by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association.
COLLEGE REPORT: Sponsler honored after big week for Wabash men's hoops
Wabash College freshman Ross Sponsler of Terre Haute North was named the North Coast Athletic Conference Men's Basketball Player of the Week for the period ending Jan. 6.
COLLEGE REPORT: North grad Hughes finds success after facing preseason adversity
A.J. Hughes knew he was in for a battle as he competed with three other walk-on punters in the preseason for the lone starting job on the Virginia Tech football team.
Etling, Meggs enjoying great year
It’s been a great year so far with more to come for a pair of longtime friends and St. Patrick’s School classmates.
Former Terre Haute resident Jack Meggs quarterbacked the Bellevue Wolverines football team to the Washington Class 3A state championship this fall, culminating with a 35-3 win over Sammamish Eastside Catholic — Bellevue’s fifth straight crown.
Danny Etling, meanwhile, has completed graduation requirements at Terre Haute South and is preparing for an upcoming high school all-star game and his first college classes in a couple of weeks.
COLLEGE REPORT: Valley’s women’s college hoops players start strong
Several women’s college basketball players from the Wabash Valley have gotten off to good starts this season on the hardwood. Highlights:
COLLEGE REPORT: Mayhew, Mascari provide fall highlights
Several dozen Wabash Valley athletes enjoyed successful fall seasons collegiately in cross country and tennis this year.
COLLEGE REPORT: Former North teammates start strong in college
Former Terre Haute North teammates Ross Sponsler and Matt O’Leary made their college basketball debuts last week and had outstanding initial performances.
- More College Report Headlines
- College report: Valley softball pair help Ball State start off with 12-2 record