In order to continue his career in baseball, Scott Parker had to go back to where he started, and that's exactly what he wanted to do.
The new Moffat County High School baseball coach played baseball at MCHS when the program started in 1986 and his hiring in December brought him back.
"My roots are here in baseball," he said during a break from his new team's winter practice. "I'm excited to have a chance to come back and coach in my home town."
Parker moved back to the area in July to be the football head coach at Hayden. After former Bulldog baseball coach Kip Hafey decided to stick with just the head football job, the baseball position opened up.
"We had two good candidates in Scott and Jake Martinez," MCHS Athletic Direct Jim Loughran said. "They both have knowledge of the game and are both capable of doing a good job."
Martinez will serve as Parker's assistant.
"I coached little league here throughout my summers in high school and college," Parker said. "I had Jake and Kip on my team during that time."
Parker played baseball at Colorado Northwestern Community College and then for the College of the Southwest in New Mexico. After college, he worked at Fort Morgan as an assistant in baseball and football for nine years and the head basketball coach for five.
"Baseball is number one in my heart," he said. "It just worked out that I can be the head coach back home where I grew up playing the game."
Parker has been getting to know his team during night practices in the MCHS gym, something he said he never had the opportunity to do.
"We didn't have the facilities to practice during the winter," he said. "It's nice to be able to get about 20 kids together every night and work on things before the spring."
Another aspect that Parker said he has seen change is the number of one-sport athletes.
"The baseball team I played on was mostly guys who had wrestled or played basketball in the winter," he said. "Now there is a number of guys who just play baseball."
As he learns more about his players, the first-year coach is anxious for the spring.
"You can't tell a whole lot about your team until you get out on the field," he said. "But I can see so far with the group I've been working with that they're willing to work hard and are eager to learn."
Both character traits play into what he hopes to see as a coach.
"I want my team to play baseball the way it's supposed to be played," he said. "It's a beautiful thing when it's played right so I'm ready to get going."
David Pressgrove can be reached at 824-7031 or firstname.lastname@example.org.