A lot of the time when a Junior Varsity (JV) coach moves to the head varsity job there’s a steep learning curve that takes place.
That likely won’t be the case at London High School as Jason Barber takes over the Red Raiders baseball program from Jimmy Wolverton who resigned to spend more time with his family.
That’s because Barber, who coached the Red Raiders JV team last spring, wasn’t your typical JV bench boss. He has three years experience as a varsity baseball coach from his years teaching in Pennsylvania and he’s excited about taking over a London team he believes has a wealth of talent and a tremendous work ethic.
“Jimmy left the program in a good place,” Barber said. “It’s been easy to pick up where he left off. We have the same thoughts of baseball and how it should be played. We’ve got good kids here that really work hard and are very coachable.”
Barber is a 2004 graduate of Canal Winchester High School. He earned his degree from Mount Vernon Nazarene University (MTVU) where he played baseball. He was a member of the 2008 MTVU squad that won the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) national championship.
After college he coached three seasons as the varsity baseball coach at Cochranton High School in Cochranton, Penn.
“We went from 2-19 my first year to being in the state playoffs in my third year,” Barber said. “Pennsylvania is different than it is here and not everyone gets into the tournament. So to make the state appearance is big.”
Barber and his wife decided to move back to Central Ohio to be closer to family. He was sired at London as a math teacher and coached the JV baseball team last season.
Wolverton, still the school’s director of athletics, said he likes what he sees in Barber as a man and a coach.
“He’s a quality person and brings a lot of experience to the position,” Wolverton said. “Jason is very knowledgeable about the game and can relate to the kids. He played baseball for four years in college and I think he’s going do a good job.”
Barber said there will be some slight differences in the way he does things as a head varsity coach compared to his predecessor, but for the most part he expects things to be close to the way they were under Wolverton.
“He left the program in great shape,” Barber said. “I’m going to do things a little different. But we’ve got teachable kids which makes them coachable kids. We’ve just got a bunch of guys that want to get better and want to succeed, and want their teammates to succeed.”
Barber said he doesn’t have a particular style he wants to play but rather will be flexible with the talent he has, he said he does expect his teams to do things a certain way.
“Old fashion, hard-nosed, don’t let up. That’s the way I played and that’s how I coach,” he said. “We’re going to be a fundamentally sound baseball team that’s going to be good at catching and throwing the ball.
“Most of the errors in baseball come with catching and throwing the ball. If we can’t do those well we’re not going to be very good. We’re going to grind and find ways to win. I know one thing, we won’t get outworked.”
Chris Miles can be reached at (740) 852-1616, ext. 18 or via Twitter @MadPressSports.