WO-S tabs Jones as new baseball coach

Published 8:23 am Wednesday, July 19, 2017

West Orange-Stark has found a baseball coach, a pretty good one with an excellent track record as West Orange-Stark Athletic Director Cornel Thompson has picked up three new coaches for the school recently.

Craig Jones, who led Pleasant Grove High School to four State Finals appearances, including state titles in both 2010 and 2012, will take over the Mustang program.

The Mustangs made the playoffs the last four years under former coach Shea Landry, who is now at Bridge City as an assistant.

The Mustangs went to the postseason four times in Landry’s six years at the helm, including a State Finals appearance in 2015 and a undefeated District 22-4A championshi0 last season.

Jones was an assistant coach at Kirbyville last season, helping former Orangefield coach Jeff Bennett take the Wildcats deep into the postseason.

Pleasant Grove never finished worse than second in district play since Jones took over the program in 1999. The Hawks reached the regional finals 10 times, winning the Region II-3A title from 2008-2013 and advancing to the state tournament.

PG reached the 3A state finals in 2008, 2010, 2012, and 2013, winning the championships in 2010 and 2012. Jones compiled a career record of 365-157 with the school. He was a Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association North All-Star coach in 2012, named the Texas Sports Writers’ Association Coach of the Year for 3A in 2010 and 2012, and named district coach of the year numerous times, as well as Gazette All-Area Coach of the Year.

The Lady Mustangs will have a new basketball coach as well as Kandice Williams will look to lead the team in a highly competitive District 22-4A.

Williams was a superb player in her own right. Williams, a native of Plainview, helped lead her high school squad to a state crown in 2001. She was also a standout player for the University of Western Oklahoma.

Former WO-S football standout Seth Thomas, brother of NFL standout Earl Thomas III, will join the Mustang coaching fraternity as a receivers coach. Thomas played well for McNeese State from 2009-12.

A couple other new head coaches will take over jobs this coming high school sports season.

Orangefield graduate Ashlee Broussard was recently named the new head volleyball coach at her alma mater.

Broussard has played a key role in recent years developing athletes in both volleyball and basketball for the junior high program.

Broussard will take the place of Tara Gay, who coached the Lady Bobcats for one season. Gay recently took the head volleyball post at Lumberton High School.

Meanwhile, Deweyville has a new Athletic Director and head football coach as former longtime Orangefield and Bridge City assistant Brandon Prouse got the post. Prouse served as an assistant at Jasper last season.

Prouse is an Orangefield graduate.

Several coaching changes have been made across the Orange County high school landscape early on this summer as athletic directors look to fill in spots, including several head coaching positions.

At Orangefield, the Bobcats will have a new boys basketball coach. Jake McDonald, who was an assistant coach at Bridge City last year besides head coach Larry Sterling, will take over the reigns in Bobcat Country, replacing Sunny Hardy. The Bobcats went 1-9 in a tough District 22-4A last season.

Over at West Orange-Stark Joseph Viator will now be an assistant football coach and do a lot of work at the junior high after being the head softball coach the last two seasons.

Tiffany McFatter, who was the head girls basketball coach a season ago, will now be the head softball coach.

Sara Ragsdale, who was an assistant softball coach at Bridge City last year in her first year of coaching, will now join older sister Rebekah Ragsdale as an assistant coach at Orangefield. Rebekah Ragsdale helped lead the young Lady Bobcats to a playoff appearance in her first year of coaching.

Bridge City assistant coach Darrin Fletcher is returning to Vidor to be an assistant coach.

Lee Legate, who was an assistant at Bridge City, will head back to his alma mater of Orangefield to help run the junior high program. Bridge City gained an assistant coach as Brandon Granger will move over from Hardin-Jefferson to aid the Cardnals.

The Bobcats will be losing assistant coach VJ Bunner as he will venture to Warren to become the head baseball coach for the Warriors.