They say change is inevitable. But not all change has to be drastic. In regards to the Wilcox baseball program, changing while maintaining continuity has been the name of the game. From 1993 through 2006, David Currie was Head Coach. From 2007 to 2014, Paul Rosa took over after playing for Currie and coaching under him as an assistant. From 2015 through 2019, Currie took back the head coach job with Rosa returning to an assistant role.
With Currie stepping down after this most recent season, Matthew Huth, whom Currie hired in 2015 as his JV Head Coach, will take over as the varsity head man. Huth’s assistants will be…you guessed it, Rosa and Currie.
After six years coaching JV at Santa Clara High and four years coaching at Wilcox, Huth, a San Jose native and San Jose State University graduate, essentially takes over with two of his former bosses watching his every move. As a first-year head coach, Huth noted that the benefits of having his experienced assistants offer far outweighs any added pressure to impress.
“Hands down you couldn’t get a better situation,” said Huth. “It can be a stressful situation, having both head coaches prior to you still coaching with you. But the wealth of knowledge they can give outweighs that stress and pressure. It helps getting to know how they do things. As the season goes along and into next year I’ll be able to put my stamp on what that looks like, but within the framework of ‘The Wilcox Way.’ The way Wilcox has done it for years has been successful, so I’m not coming here and changing anything. My philosophy: if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.”
Huth will become just the sixth varsity head coach in Wilcox baseball history, which dates back to 1961. The continuity in the program is something that all the recent coaches take pride in. According to Currie, all six of them were also on-campus coaches, teaching at the school and being available to the students during the day.
“If you look, these days a lot of schools are going with off-campus baseball coaches — and there are a lot of quality people that do that — but it just makes things a lot easier to be on campus and around the kids,” said Currie. “The kids see you all throughout the day and have a pretty good feeling that you are committed to the school and that you’ll be there long term. For Wilcox to have only six coaches in the 50-plus years — all of them on-campus coaches — I think that has definitely played a factor into the overall success of the program. I see it continuing with someone like Matt who is young and committed to being here.”
When speaking with Currie, you get the impression that Huth impressed the long-time head coach even before they even met.
“He was coaching over at Santa Clara and I had a pretty good impression with him,” added Currie. “Like in any profession, coaches watch what other coaches do. I had been following him along as a coach and watching his demeanor out there and I was always pretty impressed. So I had a pretty good idea before he even came over to Wilcox what kind of coach and teacher he would be.”
Rosa likewise had nothing but quality things to say about Huth, most notably about how well he connects with the kids.
“He gets along great with the kids, the kids really draw to him,” praised Rosa. “He’s a very even-keeled guy, he doesn’t get too upset, doesn’t get too happy, he’s just got the perfect demeanor for the group of kids we have.”
More than just connecting with the kids, Huth notes that one of his strengths is being able to get each individual player to reach their potential.
“I think my biggest strength is how to get the most out of kids, both as students and athletes, getting to know them and learning what drives them.”
When asked what some of the biggest challenges are in working with teenagers in 2019, Huth brought up the importance of getting the kids to unplug from their devices and focus on the task at hand.
“When I graduated high school in 2003, we were kind of the last class that didn’t all have cell phones. But these days, cell phones and video games are a big thing, the Fortnite video game in particular,” said Huth. “I think it’s a definite skill as a coach to get kids to turn off all that information that’s coming in and be able to focus for a two-hour practice, focus for that game, the task at hand. Working at the school, being an on-campus teacher, getting to know the kids, figure out what makes them them, is key. I try to mold myself around what they need, obviously this generation of kids is different.”
The generation of kids is different and every year the baseball team is different. Wilcox has lost a few key seniors from last year’s team to graduation, most notably Alex Adame and Nick Malvini, but Huth is still very confident in the squad’s talent level this upcoming season.
“We lost a lot of key seniors last year, but we have a good core coming back, obviously [Paul M.] Rosa and we have [Geremy] McCollough. We have a lot of guys who didn’t pitch last year that can pitch. So we have a lot of talent and younger kids coming up from JV that will fill in the holes pretty well. Talent wise I feel like we shouldn’t have an issue, we pretty much should be where we were last year.”
Last year, the Chargers were one of the favorites to win CCS after a strong regular season. Wilcox finished 21-7-4 overall and 8-4 in league, but the team stumbled in their playoff opener, losing 2-1 to Piedmont Hills. It was the second year in a row that the Chargers saw their season end at the hands of the Piedmont Hills Pirates.
When baseball starts up again in 2020, Wilcox hopes it will be clear sailing with Huth guiding the ship deep into the CCS playoffs. The man himself seems more than eager for spring to arrive.
“I’ve never [been a head coach] before, so the excitement of something new is certainly palpable,” admitted Huth. “I’m itching to get it going and see how the season is going to look and play out.”