Jeff County's Warner takes G-P baseball job

Coach won titles in two of three seasons at JCHS
Jul. 29, 2013 @ 10:27 PM
Gatlinburg-Pittman is no longer in the market for a new baseball coach.
Former Jefferson County baseball coach Josh Warner confirmed Monday that he'd been hired for the Highlanders job and will bring former Sevier County High head coach Lance Traywick with him as an assistant.
"Something just felt right about it," Warner said Monday. "It's just a situation where there are a lot of good things going on up there.
"I know it's going to be a challenge from day one," he said. "There are some good teams in that league. You've got state champion Pigeon Forge, Gibbs and Carter. 
"My goal is to in there and build that program."
He his assistant definitely have experience in team building. 
Between the two coaches were three of the last five IMAC baseball titles -- Warner two at JCHS (2011 tournament, 2012 regular season and tournament), and Traywick one at SCHS (2010 regular season and tournament).
"Lance will be a big part of that (rebuilding process)," Warner said. "I think our coaching staff is really solid. But (the process) is not a one-year thing. I see it being a 2-4 year process to where we have an established program year in and year out.
"This is not a sprint, it's a marathon. It's going to take a lot of hard work, a lot of hours, but I'm ready for the challenge and Lance is as well."
Warner is replacing Henry LaFollette, who was let go after last season, when the team finished a disappointing 14-12 after star left-hander Corbin Lamb was lost midway through the year. The team finished fifth in the seven-team District 3-AA.
LaFollette was G-P's all-time wins leader as the Blue and Gold coach. He was 110-100 over his eight seasons with G-P, including a 2009 season that saw the Blue and Gold set a school record with 18 wins while finishing third in the district behind powerful teams from Pigeon Forge and Gibbs.
Warner knows he needs to make connections with the players quickly.
"We're already putting a list together of the kids that are going to G-P that have been playing ball, we want to get the kids excited about it," he said. 
"We're going to have a middle school team, and work with these kids at each level, just like Lance had done with the Sevier County teams. That's what we envision and that's what will happen. 
"That starts tomorrow."
A P.E. teacher at JCHS, Warner will be doing the credit recovery program at G-P. He graduated from Dobyns-Bennett High School in Kingsport in 1998 and played baseball at ETSU. After graduating, Warner returned to D-B, where he was an assistant coach for eight seasons.
He then moved on to Dandridge, where he was 80-26 in three seasons (32-5, 30-9, 18-12). 
At G-P Warner will have a brand new ballpark as a part of the Rocky Top Sports World project. 
The coach has seen the plans for the new park, which will feature a natural grass surface and all-new facilities, including new dugouts, and an indoor facility with three batting cages and a locker room down the first base side.
"It's going to be a top-notch facility; I truly believe one of the top in the state," he said. "I'm going to have a lot of input in things and it's going to be really nice. I think it's going to put G-P (baseball) on the map."