For the first 20-plus years of his life, Trevin Smith lived baseball - as a standout player at West Mecklenburg and Louisburg Junior College before playing professionally for a couple years.
After a short minor-league career, Smith, who was drafted by the Houston Astros organization, decided baseball wasn't going to be his future.
"When I decided to quit playing baseball, I didn't want it to be a part of my life at all for a long time," said Smith. "But then, I found a new reason to be interested and got back into the game."
That reason was his son, 10-year-old Gage. Smith, 38, wanted him to be able to play baseball and look up to his dad as a role-model in the sport.
Four years ago, Smith helped his son learn the game and also got involved as an assistant with Huntersville's American Legion Post 321 team.
After one year of helping out, Smith decided to take over the team as the manager.
"When I started coaching baseball again, I didn't know what to expect," Smith said. "But I really enjoyed it right off the bat."
In January, Smith got another big opportunity when former North Mecklenburg baseball coach Mark King decided to step down after a decade of coaching the Vikings.
King and athletic director Kevin Wilson had a short list of people to hire.
"I've known Coach Smith for more than two years," said Wilson, whose oldest son has played for Smith. "He is the guy that was on top our list ... because he is familiar with our facility, knows our players, has a baseball background and is a players' coach."
Smith said it was an easy decision to take the job at North Meck, where his Post 321 team also plays, because of how familiar he was with the players on the roster.
"I'm just coaching them in a different season," he said.
Smith's Vikings' debut has been good, as his team got off to a 3-0 start with wins over Butler, Lake Norman and Mooresville.
Smith and the Vikings have big expectations for the year.
"One of the first things we did as a team was to sit down and talk about our goals," said Smith. "I heard all kinds of things like go undefeated, and win a conference championship. But I never heard anything about winning a state championship. I know it may sound crazy, but that is our goal."
While it is still early, North Meck looks strong led by senior Anthony Dimino, who moved from shortstop to catcher because Smith wanted his leader behind the plate. Dimino, who has signed with USC Upstate, is batting more than .500 early in the season.
Dimino has a lot of help from his classmates, including senior pitching ace Paul Leonard, who has started strong on the mound with two wins. Senior centerfielder Nate Cooper, shortstop James Petitgout and second baseman Dylan Maddox have also played well. Freshman third baseman Ryder Ryan has also made an impact.
While individual players are looking good so far, Smith is worried about the team as a collective unit.
"The biggest thing for me is to teach a team-environment and a team way of playing the game," he said. "I will not tolerate individualism."
North Meck will find out just how good they are in the next couple weeks as they hit the "meat" of the I-Meck conference schedule, including a trip to archrival Hopewell on April 1.
"I'm excited about how things have started," said Smith. "But we have a long way to go and a lot to prove."
Smith is under contract to coach just for this season, but he and Wilson will likely discuss the future when the 2011 year ends.
That's why Smith's focus is on the present.
"I'm very honored to have this position and to be at a school like North Meck with a strong tradition," he said. "I'm going to coach as hard as I can and at the end of year, we will see what we think about the future."