Brock Netter, Staff Writer
CHILLICOTHE — Chillicothe’s baseball program hasn’t enjoyed a winning season since 2009.
So, to get back to its winning ways, it’s turning to a former player who was a part of that ‘09 team.
The Board of Education officially approved Nathan Winston as its newest varsity baseball coach Monday evening. He takes over for Justin Miller after Miller served two seasons with the Cavaliers.
“I know the talent that Chillicothe has and one of my goals is to put the baseball program back on the map,” Winston said. “It’s just a matter of getting kids excited to come out and play. I know football and basketball has always been big within the school and I want to put baseball in that mix.”
Winston has received a numerous amount of support from those involved in the program. In fact, it was one of those supporters who originally informed him that the job had become available.
“I had no idea until a couple of parents messaged me and told me I should apply,” Winston said. “I sent my resume and met (Chillicothe athletic director) Mike Barren when Zane Trace and Chillicothe played earlier this basketball season. We talked for a little bit, got to know one another and here we are now.”
Now that the job is his, the work to rebuild a once successful program begins.
Winston is the third coach Chillicothe has tabbed to spearhead baseball since the retirement of longtime coach Marty Dunn. Dunn coached the Cavaliers for 26 years and won over 270 games.
Winston played under Dunn as one of the team’s starting pitchers throughout his high school baseball career. He was an imperative piece of the ‘09 team that finished 12-0 inside the SEOAL before graduating in 2010.
After four years in a Cavalier uniform, a period where he earned all-conference and all-district honors as a flame-thrower, Winston took his talents to the next level.
He signed to play professionally in Canada and spent four seasons honing his craft while awaiting his shot at the big leagues. His playing days, however, ended sooner than he had hoped.
But his love for the game never wavered and eventually brought him into the coaching world.
He’s spent the last five years as an assistant coach at Ohio University-Chillicothe before accepting the challenge to lead his alma mater.
His background and playing days certainly gave him a leg up in the hiring process.
“I feel have a lot of knowledge of the game and being a coach really grew on me,” Winston said. “I saw from a distance what was going on at Chillicothe and the program was dying down. I didn’t like that so I want to bring some energy and enthusiasm back.”
While he’d love to see success come Chillicothe’s way early, Winston isn’t setting goals based solely off wins and losses. The very first thing he wants to emphasize is belief.
“I believe in the guys and I want to them to see that,” Winston said. “If the players believe in you, they’ll start to believe in themselves and everything else will come together. Give me 100 percent and I’ll give you 110.”
Winston’s first game as head coach is currently slated for Saturday, March 23 against Unioto at VA Memorial Stadium. But rest assured, the Cavaliers will get to work way before then.
“I’m excited and I’m looking forward to giving back to the community in a positive way,” Winston said. “I love baseball and hopefully my passion for the game rubs off on the players. Getting the phone call that I was their guy meant the world to me. I’m thankful that someone believed in me enough to think I can run a baseball program. I can’t wait to get started.”