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Swisher finds renewed passion to become Rebels' baseball coach

November 06, 2011|By TIM KOELBLE | koelble@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN — Zack Swisher wore a South Hagerstown varsity baseball uniform from 1996-1998.

He’ll put one on again when the 2012 prep baseball starts, but this time as the coach of the Rebels.

Athletic director Mike Tesla announced Swisher has been named South’s new head coach, succeeding Ralph Stottlemyer.

“I’m looking forward to my first year as a varsity head coach,” said Swisher, who has been a physical education teacher at Springfield Middle School since 2003.

Swisher, 31, played for the Rebels’ junior varsity in 1995-96 before getting some playing time during the varsity’s ‘96 run to the state championship. He became South’s starting second baseman and pitched for the 1997-98 teams and earned first-team All-MVAL and All-County.

He still holds South’s single-season record for runs scored with 41.

Swisher played for Hagerstown Community College for two years, before finishing his college career and graduating from Davis & Elkins in 2002. He was a first-team all-conference shortstop.

He returned to South as an assistant under Stottlemyer and served as the junior varsity coach. He also played for Funkstown American Legion from 1996-99.

“I’ve got a new desire to coach and the juices to coach got flowing again,” said Swisher. “In Washington County and at South High, we know what the expectations of the student-athlete are. I want to take my enthusiasm for baseball and pass it on to the kids. I hope it rubs off on them.”

Swisher said he’ll start gathering information on the Rebels’ upcoming team, but he’ll focus on playing small ball and utilizing speed in the game.

Stottlemyer is retiring after having served as the Rebels’ coach since 2003 when he guided South to the state championship.

“We want to thank Ralph for his time here and we appreciate everything he has done and all the years he has put in at South,” said Tesla, noting Stottlemyer’s 30-plus years of service.

“We look forward to having (Zack) as the new head coach, and a coach that is coming back from his school days at South,” said Tesla. “He’s a young guy and excited.”

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