Brown named new HiToms manager
In many ways, what the Thomasville HiToms teams of today have is a result of what the teams of the mid-to-late 2000s did, HiToms President Greg Suire says. And a lot of what those teams did was due to what players like Zach Brown did.
On Wednesday, Brown, along with two of his former teammates, returned to Finch Field in a new role to help lead the HiToms back to the elite level of the Coastal Plain League. He was introduced as the team’s manager for the 2013 season in a press conference in the HiToms clubhouse.
“My initial thoughts were that I was a little wary about it, but then I was excited because I know there are expectations here,” Brown said. “Some people don’t like expectations because there’s pressure. But I don’t believe in not having expectations, as far as winning. From the program I came from, I’m used to: When you come in you’re expected to win. If it’s a rebuilding year — no matter what. You’re expected to win and do certain things.”
Brown was selected from a pool of former CPL managers as well as younger guys, said Suire, who had narrowed it Brown and two other candidates before deciding on Brown. It was his leadership on the field during the 2005 and 2006 seasons (2006 being the first of three straight CPL titles) and in his coaching career since then that sealed it.
“OK, so he’s a great player, but what also makes him a great coach? Well, the first thing’s leadership — without a doubt, he is a leader,” Suire said. “And I think that’s something you’ll see from day 1 when he steps in that third-base coaches box. Second, who are the guys he’s learned under? He’s had a great mentor in Fred Jordan at The Citadel, and the discipline and leadership that is taught at that school is phenomenal, and Zach exemplifies that.”
As a player, Brown, who will be joined by HiToms teammates Shelton Cisson and Wilson Boyd as assistants, set the records for hits with 63 (since broken by Brock Hebert in 2011) and home runs with 12 (since broken by Chris Swauger in 2007) in 2006 and was twice selected to the CPL All-Star Game, as well as being chosen for the All-Decade Team.
After graduating from The Citadel, where he was also a standout performer, Brown, from Greenville, S.C., was drafted in the 27th round by the San Diego Padres and played professionally for three years. He then spent two years at The Citadel as an assistant before taking his current job as an assistant at Furman University.
“For me, it’s the challenge. Life gets boring without challenges — a lot of people tell me that’s why I’m not married yet,” Brown said with a laugh. “Maybe I need to stop doing it on that end, but as far as every other aspect of my life, I like to challenge myself every day.
“Once I’ve succeeded in that challenge, then it’s time for me to go on and try to challenge myself in other ways. If you win one year, then try to make it two. I don’t believe in taking years off or taking days off — you’re not challenging yourself. It’s not fun — it takes the spice out of life.”
He becomes the third player in HiToms history to manage the team, following Matt McCay in 2008 and Sean Walsh in 2012, whose team went 24-30 and missed the playoffs. If his team were to win a CPL championship, he would become the first in league history to win one both as a player and a manager.
The HiToms will open their season May 28 at Forest City before hosting Asheboro on May 29. Schedule announcement and player signings will come in the upcoming weeks.