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Kerns steps down from Hancock baseball post

January 15, 2004|by MARK KELLER

keller@herald-mail.com

When the time came for Dan Kerns to make a decision about his future as the Hancock High School baseball coach, his conclusion ultimately was based on time.

Kerns stepped down Wednesday from the post he held at his hometown school for the last 20 years, ending the longest tenure among Washington County baseball coaches.

"I guess it was just time and really a combination of a lot of things," Kerns said. "The last couple of years have been a little more frustrating than usual, not in wins and losses but in other ways.

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"It was a little of this and that and everything else, but maybe it was just time."

Kerns led the Panthers to the Maryland Class 1A final in 1995, but the team has struggled to compete in recent years.

Nonetheless, Kerns' legacy will be more about the players from the Hancock program who have gone on to play at the college level and beyond, including two of his sons.

His oldest son, Mick, played at Alabama, was drafted and played in the Anaheim Angels organization. He is coach at St. James School.

Another son, Brian, also played at Alabama and is an assistant at Hancock.

Ricky Fling, Louie Ross and Derek Hoffman all had successful college careers. Ross was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks.

"I'd never take any credit for what those kids did," Dan Kerns said. "I thought it was something I might enjoy doing, but I never thought I'd stay 20 years."

Kerns worked in the circulation department of The Herald-Mail from 1969-87 before taking a full-time position at the Hancock post office, where he is employed today.

Though comfortable with his decision, he said he won't know for sure it was the right choice until spring.

"Any time you do something for 20 years and you get into that routine, you're going to miss it," Kerns said. "I'm sure I'll miss being around the kids when the weather warms up."

"Dan will be missed greatly in our coaching community," Hancock athletic director Bill Sterner said. "The great baseball experiences and the upkeep of our facility that he undertook each year will be difficult to replace."

Kerns became the longest tenured baseball coach in the county when Clear Spring's Jim Hutson retired at the end of the 2003 season.

The resignations of Hutson, Kerns and Boonsboro's Fred Kreiger make North Hagerstown's Shawn Reynolds and Grace Academy's Ed Sweeney - both due to start their eighth seasons in the spring - the senior coaches in the county.

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