New-look Miners ready
March 4, 2011
At the tender age of 23, Lou Green has already seen quite a bit.
Green grew up and learned the game of baseball in Panama City, Fla., then participated in two West Virginia high school state titles and a junior college World Series championship at Chipola Junior College before getting a shot at Major League Baseball. Now Lou Green is ready for his next challenge: moving to a quiet mountain town to develop a baseball program that has yet to reach its full potential.
The first step?
"Our game philosophy is to play fast," said the new head coach at Park City High School. "I want to put a lot of pressure on our opponent at all times."
A right-handed pitcher with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim organization, Green had to call it quits after three elbow surgeries early in his pro career. He had two Tommy John surgeries, a reconstruction of the ulnar collateral ligament common for pitchers.
But what led him to Utah is a story of disaster.
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After retiring from baseball, Green returned to his West Virginia roots and began working as an underground coal miner. After 18 months in management at the Upper Big Branch Mine, Green’s world was rocked by an explosion that killed 29 miners the worst U.S. coal mining disaster since 1970.
"That’s when my wife and I reevaluated our plans," he said.
Green had two offers from schools in West Virginia and two from schools in the greater Panama City area, but decided to take the job as the head coach of the Miners.
Before taking the job in October, Green flew out to Utah for the interview. "I liked the place right away, but there wasn’t three feet of snow on the ground," he said.
This will be Green’s first head coaching job and his style of play will be that of many Major League teams. An aggressive "small-ball" style of bunting, hit-and-run and stealing bases will be among the new trademarks of Park City baseball.
"People will be surprised around the state," he said.
Green said he is a very disciplined and conditioning-based coach and said some of his players have told him they’ve never worked so hard in preparation for an upcoming season. The team has been taking care of its off-season training regimens in the Basin Fieldhouse during the winter months, but spring is knocking on the door.
"We need to see where it pans out," he said.
He’s relying on a strong core of seniors to help the team through the growing pains of learning a new system.
"I feel like we have the talent to win a state championship," he said. "That’s where my goals are at."
He added that Park City baseball has been a successful program in the past, but he is looking forward to helping the Miners take the next step.
"It’s a lot different from the past," he said. "We’re kind of holding their (the players’) feet to the fire. I think the kids really want to win."
His aggressive and success-driven style has gone over well with his players so far, he said, and he cannot wait for the team’s opening day next week.
"I’ve yelled and screamed at everyone individually and the team as a whole," he said. "We had a tough fall and winter and we realize we’re only days away. I know we’re all excited."