CHAMPAIGN — Sam Flowers utilized to develop into Centennial’s baseball coach after Kyle Herges’ tenure led to 2009.
It didn’t work out, with former Chargers standout Wealthy Hyde chosen.
Flowers put his title within the ring once more after Hyde vacated the job in 2013.
No cube, with Ryan Remole getting the nod.
So when Remole introduced earlier this 12 months he was stepping away from the Chargers, would the third time be the attraction for Flowers?
Sure. However there’s extra to Flowers’ story than going from groomsman to groom.
After his rent was accepted by the Unit 4 Board of Schooling earlier this week throughout its assembly, Flowers formally turned Centennial baseball’s first-ever Black head baseball coach.
“That’s fairly big,” Flowers mentioned Wednesday afternoon, a day after he celebrated his forty sixth birthday. “After I did discover out, I used to be type of actually shocked and I mentioned, ‘Hey, that’s going to be a giant load for me to hold, however I’m prepared for it.’ I’m enthusiastic about it.
“I do know they’ve had a Black soccer coach, Lekevie Johnson, after which they’d the late Coach (Coleman) Carrodine for basketball. So, I imply, with me being the primary African-American baseball coach there, it’s big for Centennial.”
Flowers beforehand spent 15 years, between 1998 and 2012, in freshman and junior varsity roles on the Chargers’ baseball employees. He returned for the COVID-19 pandemic-shortened 2020 marketing campaign to revise his position as JV coach. Flowers was concerned with seven 20-win seasons as an assistant, in addition to three regional championships and this system’s 1999 Class AA state event berth.
When Remole determined to go away Centennial baseball’s prime job to spend extra time together with his household, Flowers mentioned it took “no convincing in any respect” to attract out his software for the position.
“We had already had a dialog, Remole and I, that when he stepped down that I’d most likely be the subsequent one in line and that he would endorse me,” Flowers mentioned. “I assumed that with my expertise at the highschool degree, after which teaching journey ball as properly (with the Illinois Braves) with the identical age vary group, I assumed that I used to be properly certified for the place.”
Flowers finally labored alongside 4 head coaches — Stan Lewis, Herges, Hyde and Remole — earlier than making the job his personal. Flowers additionally had two sons, Jammion Legal guidelines and Sam Flowers Jr., play for the Chargers.
So to say Flowers has been round Centennial baseball for a big period of time can be an understatement.
“The interview course of, I used to be nervous once I first walked in,” Flowers mentioned, “however as soon as the primary query hit and I began to speak, all of the nerves type of went away. And once I acquired the telephone name that I acquired the place, I used to be actually overwhelmed with pleasure and pleasure.”
Flowers mentioned he’s taken items of teaching knowledge from every of the aforementioned former Centennial baseball coaches he’s labored with, in addition to from opponents on the diamond through the years. That mentioned, Flowers has loads of his personal ideas to drill into the Centennial athletes when their season begins April 19.
“The groups that I’ve had previously … we at all times come out with lots of power,” Flowers mentioned. “We’re going to play the sport prefer it’s alleged to be performed. We’re going to have enjoyable doing it, however we’re going to play quick and we’re going to hustle on a regular basis.”
Quickness didn’t outline Flowers’ street to the highest of the Chargers baseball meals chain. It wasn’t his time to shine when Centennial management as an alternative opted for Hyde and Remole.
That modified in 2020, and Flowers was capable of make historical past within the course of.
“That didn’t deter me from making use of once more when the place got here open once more,” Flowers mentioned, “and this time I used to be profitable.”
Colin Likas is the preps coordinator at The Information-Gazette. He may be reached at [email protected], or on Twitter at @clikasNG.