It was the first day of open workouts and new Lake Norman High baseball coach Trey Ramsey was all over the place, trying to get the field ready for the players.
“I’ve got a lot to do,” Ramsey said. “I’ve got to let these guys know what I want them to do during these workouts.”
Ramsey took over as the Wildcats’ coach in August, just a few weeks after Robert Little – Lake Norman’s coach since the school opened in 2002, leading the team to the NCHSAA 3A state title in 2009 – stepped down to take an assistant principal position at South Iredell High.
“This school provides a unique opportunity in this county to be a really, really good baseball school,” Ramsey said. “We want to draw the same kind of talent as a Providence, South Meck or Myers Park draws, and be able to compete on a big level.
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“That’s the unique opportunity here, that challenge. A few of the guys have already talked about contending at that level, but I’ve tried to calm them down. I want them to do one thing at a time. Let’s worry about getting better during the offseason first. That’s why they’re out here today.”
Ramsey is no stranger to Iredell County baseball. He was head coach at South Iredell for five seasons (2008-2012), leading the Vikings to four consecutive NCHSAA state playoff appearances and also coached Statesville Post 65’s American Legion baseball team for three seasons (2010-2012).
“I was thrown into the fire a little bit,” Ramsey said of his time as the Vikings’ coach, a role he assumed right after graduating from Lenoir-Rhyne in 2007. “When I interviewed at South, I wasn’t aware that it was for the baseball job. I was there thinking it was just for a teaching position.
“I was young, but I was eager to do something positive and eager to try to get the same level of dedication and commitment. That part of my philosophy hasn’t changed from then to now.”
Ramsey is also familiar with coaching at the higher levels of North Carolina high school baseball. The past two years he was an assistant coach and head junior varsity coach for Charlotte Providence High’s program.
Under head coach Danny Hignight, the Panthers won the NCHSAA 4A state title in 1995, returned to the state finals in 1997, and have been one of Charlotte’s top teams (along with Ardrey Kell and South Mecklenburg) for more than a decade.
“Communication is probably the No. 1 thing I learned from (Hignight),” Ramsey said. “He communicates very well with his coaching staff and his players. He’s very clear and concise with them. Also, how to get players to be dedicated. It’s something that we’ve got to continue to teach the players, what it means to be dedicated to something, and not just expect them to know.
“We’re going to do a lot of communicating in this program – letting the players know where they stand, letting players know their strengths and weaknesses, and being very clear about that. The same with the parents, as well.”
Ramsey has set up a tough nonconference schedule for the Wildcats. They will open the 2015 season against defending NCHSAA 4A champion West Forsyth, and also have games scheduled against two-time NCHSAA 3A champion Weddington, Hough (a state 4A finalist in 2012), Hopewell and North Mecklenburg.
“All of the top-tier schools around here I could find, I scheduled,” Ramsey said. “We’re going to have a pretty grueling schedule with our nonconference games. We’re all trying to learn from each other right now, and get the direction of this program going where we want it.
“Some of the players have already mentioned some high goals and competing at the state level, but I want to make sure they know exactly what that means. There are no easy games … but I’m glad they have those goals. Honestly, I want to start smaller than that, and build on it day by day.”