For almost his entire life, Alex Eaton has been a part of the game of baseball.
On Wednesday night, that all changed.
Eaton, who had coached the Southwestern High School baseball team for the past eight seasons, announced to his Warrior baseball squad that he would stepping down as their head coach to take on a new position as the Southwestern High School Athletics Director.
“This was a tough decision,” Eaton stated. “And when you have been a part of just Southwestern baseball for 17 years as a player, an assistant coach and a head coach, obviously that is not easy to step away from. For about half of my entire life, I have been involved with Southwestern baseball.”
“But in life you get certain opportunities and sometimes you have to make tough decisions,” Eaton explained. “It is not that I am excited about taking a new position and taking a new role at Southwestern, but it is with a heavy heart that I had to leave something that I spent so much time and energy in something that is part of who I am.”
“I hope the players understand my decision,” Eaton added. “I had a good conversation with them on Wednesday, and there were some tears shed. But I think a year or two from now they will understand. For me and my family, I felt like this was the right decision to make, but it was tough.”
Coming up through the Burnside Little League and the Somerset-Pulaski Babe Ruth League, Eaton made a name for himself in the Southwestern baseball uniform as a hard-nosed hitter and catcher. After graduating from Southwestern in 2001, Eaton earned a baseball scholarship to Lindsey Wilson College and had an outstanding collegiate baseball career.
After college, Eaton came back home and served as the Warriors baseball assistant coach for 4 season before taking the head coaching job in 2011.
During Eaton’s tenure as he Warriors’ skipper, the program flourished by garnering 20-plus-win seasons all eight years. Eaton led the Warriors to a 12th Region championship title in 2014, and reached he 12th Region Finals two other times in 2013 and 2016.
Under Eaton, the Warriors had a combined won-loss record of 203-81, and claimed seven 48th District titles.
As Eaton moves on with his career by taking his new administrative role, he is a little uncertain about what it might be like next spring not wearing a baseball uniform or sitting in a dugout.
“Every spring since I was 9 years old, I have been in a baseball uniform – coaching, playing in college, high school, Babe Ruth and Little League,” Eaton explained. “I have never been out of baseball and it is a little scary thinking about doing something else.”
“I do know this. I will probably still be wearing a Southwestern baseball hat,” Eaton said with a grin. “I may not be wearing the uniform, but if the next Warrior baseball coach will give me a hat, I will be wearing it.”