Chase Greenwell has changed shades of blue.
The 27-year-old, who stepped in at LaRue County three months ago as its interim baseball coach a couple of weeks before the season began, has been named the head coach at Elizabethtown.
“It’s an honor to be named the head coach at E’town,” he said. “The program means a lot to me and it’s done a lot for me. I can only hope to give back to the kids and the community as best I can in a similar fashion to what it’s given me.
“I want to say thank you to Miss (Jennifer) Burnham (principal) and Mr. (Glenn) Spalding (athletic director) for giving me the opportunity to take on this role.”
Greenwell, a 2009 Panthers graduate, played collegiate baseball at John A. Logan Community College and Morehead State.
He spent his freshman season at Elizabethtown under Coach Thad Elmore and the last three seasons as the starting shortstop and a closer under Coach Don Pitts, who finished this past season on an interim basis after a coaching change in the middle of the season when Coach Steve Delabar, who was named coach a year ago, stepped away.
“Everything in life is a learning opportunity — either you win or learn is the way I look at things,” said Greenwell, who was passed over for the job 12 months ago.
“I know it’s a cliché that everything happens for a reason, but I like to take everything as positive as possible and make the best out of what happens.
“I told the team at LaRue County a John Wooden quote, ‘Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.’ It’s a great quote to live by. You see it in life, in sports and everything else you do. I had a great time at LaRue County. They treated me well and I appreciate everything they did for me. It was a good experience. I had an enjoyable time and it’s something I’ll continue to learn from.”
Greenwell, who teaches social studies at Elizabethtown, is also the boys’ golf coach.
“In golf you’re always looking at the next shot, in baseball it’s the next pitch or the next play,” he said. “It’s easy to dwell in the misfortunate, mishaps or errors, but those are all parts of the game. Physical errors are part of the game. You have to have a short-term memory. You have to forget it, clear it and go on to the next pitch.
“There are many similarities to sports and life. If things don’t go your way, you pick yourself up and find a way to get it done the next time or be better the next time.”
Greenwell had 47 RBIs and hit .482 as a senior at Elizabethtown and was selected First Team All-State, All-Region, All-District and was the All-Area Player of the Year. He led the team with eight home runs and tied for the team lead with 16 doubles. Greenwell was third on the team in runs scored with 35. Greenwell posted a miniscule 1.34 ERA and opponents batted a paltry .098 off him. He had a 4-1 record with four saves. In 31 1/3 innings, he totaled 51 strikeouts, while allowing just 10 hits and eight walks.
“I played under some really good coaches in Coach Elmore, Coach Pitts, Coach Jerry Halstead at John A. Logan and Coach Mike McGuire and Coach Jay Sorg at Morehead State,” Greenwell said. “I played summer baseball in a collegiate league in Wichita, Kansas, and in a wooden bat league in Lexington. I’ll draw on my experiences with all those coaches, as well as my playing days, being an assistant coach at E’town and the head coach at LaRue County.
“You’re always learning, always changing and you find ways to get better day in and day out.
“I’m excited to get with the players. I know most, if not all of them. I’m ready to get to work one day at a time. You take what’s given to you and make the most of it. I’m going to continue to work hard and build on what Coach Elmore, Coach Pitts and Coach (Ron) Myers have all started.”