Quincy Jacks skipper chosen as baseball coach of the year
As it turns out, grandfather knew best.
For years, Robert Loomis, a hall-of-fame coach with the Chelan Goats wrestling program, mentored and advised his grandson Colton on the ins and outs of the coaching profession.
Grandpa and grandson also shared the joys and travails of Colton’s first-ever season as a head coach, when he took over the baseball program in Quincy in March after Andy Harris’ resignation
The grandfatherly influence is undeniable, Colton says, as was the heartbreak when Robert passed away two weeks ago.
So you can imagine who was on Colton’s mind when he got the news a week later that he was the CWAC’s 2019 Baseball Coach of the Year after a 7-6 season, a playoff berth and a first-place finish in Division 2.
“He was kind of the inspiration behind it all,” Colton said. “He got the opportunity to coach and teach a lot of kids and hopefully make an impact.”
The elder Loomis coached for five years in Woodland, Wash., near his native Centralia, before making the move to Chelan, where he coached for the better part of three decades.
The chance to make an impact of his own stunned Loomis, a product of Cashmere High and Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa, Idaho.
An assistant under Harris, he was appointed to the skipper’s job after Harris resigned in the hours following the season’s first game.
“It was pretty short warning but I knew the job had to be done,” Loomis said.
After the shock wore off, the old coach’s grandson took over and dealt with the challenge with a can-do attitude that permeated through the program.
“I was just trying to do my part and help out in whatever I could,” he said. “Help make the transition as easy as possible, not only for the guys but for Coach Harris, as well.”
A quiet guy by nature, he now had to make sure his charges heard him, he said.
That was a big adjustment for Loomis. He took on the job with the help of the same assistants Harris had: Shaun McNay, Diego Garcia, Jimmy Tarango, and Jeff Thompson.
“I wouldn’t have had it any other way,” Loomis said. “The relationships my coaches have with these players is one-of-a-kind. Each coach brought things to the table: work ethic, the ability to cater to each player, and gave them as many game-like reps as you can ask a coach to do. I was very fortunate these guys stuck around.”
With the season over, the appointment is also over, and Loomis has to apply for the job he held for a full season minus one game.
That’s just the way it is, said Loomis, adding that if the next athletic director hires someone else for the job, he would like to stay on as an assistant.
Regardless of who gets the job, Loomis’ resume has a sterling addition, a Coach of the Year award in his first year as skipper.
“I’m blessed that the team responded the way they did,” he said, praising his squad for adapting to his brand of coaching.
“You can still coach firmly and give the guys tough love,” he said. “The thing with tough love is, you can’t just be tough. You gotta love on your guys too. And I love each and every one of these guys.”
Loomis said he sees himself coaching a long time, same as a certain hall-of-famer with his last name had a chance to do.
“I’d love to stick around and have an impact on even half as many ballplayers and students as he did,” he said.
The emotions are strong, with grandpa’s wake having taken place just last weekend.
“He was an amazing man,” Loomis said.
By Sebastian Moraga, firstname.lastname@example.org