Michael Carter has been hired as the baseball coach at Polk County.
Previously an assistant at the school, Carter was officially hired Wednesday afternoon to replace Bill Triplett.
“I met with the superintendent [Dr. James Jones] and it was a nice, short conversation. He said ‘keep it rolling,’” Carter said.
Polk County rebounded from a runner-up district tournament finish to win Region 3-AA and advance to the state tournament with a sectional victory over Livingston Academy.
The Wildcats lost three of their top players and the bulk of their offensive power — Jared Allen, Michael Allen and Tyler Lee — to graduation.
“You don’t replace guys like that, but this next season would be the time to lose those type players. Our offense depended a lot on the three-run homer and with the new bats everybody is going to have to bunt and use the hit-and-run more,” Carter said.
The new bats are supposed to cut down on the artificial power generated by bats that were used in high school. Most college coaches saw a significant drop in home runs with their teams using the new composite bats this year.
“We’ll have to revamp our offensive philosophy and the fine-tuned skills of the game will have to be reinforced,” but everybody else is going to be in the same boat,” Carter said.
Triplett, who collected his 300th career win this past season, was ecstatic with the choice of Carter as his replacement.
“I really like it,” he said. “Michael is a guy that is going to work at the game. He’s going to work at being a good coach and he has a genuine interest in the players. He’s a baseball guy and he enjoys the game.”
Carter played at McMinn Central during the Joe Shamblin era when the team twice reached the state’s final four. He then played at Chattanooga State before transferring to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga where he earned his teaching certificate. He has been an assistant to Triplett for the last three years while teaching at the elementary and middle schools. Carter will be teaching history and geography at the high school when classes resume in August.
“I always said I would get out of baseball at Polk if they had a guy that was a good baseball man. I think this hire will benefit the program. It will be a lot more than a guy just drawing a supplement,” Triplett said. “I knew I wouldn’t have much say in whom they hired, but I hoped the administration would hire a guy who would continue the program’s success. I think they have.”
Carter has talked Triplett into continuing and plans to utilize him as a pitching coach. He also will have Matt Allen, an assistant this year, returning.
“I’m excited. It would be hard to beat Coach Triplett working with the pitchers and Matt is invaluable,” Carter said.
Ward Gossett is an assistant sports editor and writer for the Times Free Press. Ward has a long history in Chattanooga journalism. He actually wrote a bylined story for the Chattanooga News-Free Press as a third-grader. He Began working part-time there in 1968 and was hired full time in 1970. Ward now covers high school athletics, primarily football, wrestling and baseball and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling. Over a 40-year career, he has covered ...