After the departure of former Enterprise baseball coach Lee Hyde following last season, a familiar face has returned to lead the Wildcats in former EHS assistant Matt Whitton.
Whitton – an Enterprise graduate – spent six seasons as an assistant under former EHS coach JD Pruitt before taking over as head coach at Charles Henderson in March of 2018.
After guiding Charles Henderson to a 27-7 record in his first full season at the helm in 2019 – and a spot in the state tournament – Whitton returned home to Enterprise in October to take over the program at his alma mater.
Having coached the majority of his current Wildcats when he was at EHS previously, Whitton brings a sense of familiarity to his team.
“Anytime you change head coaches there are some unknowns on how things are going to go,” Whitton said. “For me, it was big knowing all these guys from when I was here before and knowing their personalities and what makes them tick.
“I think it works for them, too, because they know my personality and what I’m adamant about. So, it won’t be too big of a culture shock for those guys and I think it will speed up the learning curve of all the new things we put in.”
With a number of returning starters from last year’s team, which did make it to the state tournament again, Whitton is excited for the season.
“The guys have been getting after it in the weight room and are really eager to get a bat in their hand and see where we are,” he said. “We’ve been taking it one day at a time and battling weather, and just ready to get out there.”
Whitton pointed to a number of his veterans – including 12 seniors – that he expects to be leaders this season.
“We’re going to lean on Connor Couch’s leadership and experience as an infielder,” he said. “Drew Williams is back behind the plate for us and we’re going to count on him to pitch for us, too.
“McCain Sieving will be back as our No. 1 (pitcher) and Colin Marsh is healthy again, which will be a big plus. We have a bunch of guys we can lean on this year and we want to develop as many players as we can so that we can be as deep as possible.”
Whitton said that he expects returner Cooper Charlton – who suffered a shoulder injury during football season that required surgery – to be back around March.
“I’m excited to see the progress that Cooper has had since his surgery,” Whitton emphasized. “I think he can be an X-factor for us when he’s back.”
Whitton said that his goal for the team is a very simple one; win a state championship.
“Our goal is to win a state championship,” he flatly said. “If that’s not your goal what are you working towards?”
Whitton said, though, that he has his own personal goal for the team.
“I want them to be better people than when we got them,” he said. “We talk about it all the time; be a better teammate, friend, student and one day a better husband and father.
“After becoming a father you know what that means. And to accomplish that it means sacrificing for the guy next to you. Our core value is going to be the team and playing for the guy beside you. If you play for the guy beside you it will make you dig a little bit deeper than you thought you could and ultimately gets you a little further than you thought you could go.”