Coffin named baseball “Coach of the Year” in Class A

Photo by Tom Steiner

Avonworth’s varsity baseball head coach Phil Coffin learned last week that the WPIAL Baseball Coaches Association had selected him as Class A “Coach of the Year.”

The first-year coach received the honor based upon voting by fellow coaches.

Coffin began his coaching career five years ago when he was hired by Avonworth. “I took over as the middle school head baseball coach for three years and then moved up to become the varsity assistant for two years. In this time, I also ran the J.V. program.” 

Coffin took the reins as varsity head coach early in the current season, bringing personal play experience to the post.

“I played high school baseball for Liberty High School in Bethlehem, PA, but I did not play college baseball. I have played in Pittsburgh for nine years, with the Federation League and the Butler County Eagle League.”

He also applied his personal philosophy to his position.

“My philosophy of coaching is that coaches are teachers and role models. A coach’s responsibility is to teach his athletes the difference between right and wrong, both on and off the field of play. As much as I like to win, there is so much more to being a coach; teaching self-respect, sacrifice and courage. I view life as a big game. If you have been taught (coached) properly, you will succeed.”

Coffin believes that several factors combined to make the season go well, the role that the seniors played being at the top of his list.

“Senior leadership was huge during our winning stretch.  The season did not begin with senior leadership and I called them out on it.  I told them I needed them to step up and be the leaders and to take the team in the right direction and they responded.”

He also had words of praise for his assistant coaches. “Pitching coach Jaime Frantz’s time and effort were key to helping our pitchers mentally and physically, and assistant coach Stephen Zehnder’s presence was felt during every practice and game.”