Coachella Valley athletic director Jacob Van Hofwegen has hired a new high school baseball coach with years of professional-level experience and a passion for success in Southern California that he hopes can turn around an Arabs program that has had just one winning season since 2005.
Earlier this month, Chris Paterson, a 2003 graduate of Redlands East Valley High School, accepted the position after having started a search for a high school post where he could give back to a local community in need of his expertise.
Paterson played a season of college baseball at Barstow Community College before a four-year stint at Division 1 North Dakota State, graduating in 2008. From there, he bounced around the minor leagues domestically, as well as in Australia, France and Germany for a total of two years.
Since, he’s been a manager of the Rio Grande Valley WhiteWings and the Sioux Falls Canaries, members of separate independent professional baseball leagues unaffiliated with the MLB. He’s also acted as a Southern California scout for the Miami Marlins the last five years and for the last two years has taken on scouting duties for a professional Mexican baseball team.
Moving down to the high school level will take some getting used to, he said, but Paterson comes with lots of knowledge and unique experiences he hopes he can pour into his new squad.
“I want to give back locally to the kids out here and spread my knowledge with what I can bring to them, and hopefully get some of them to the college level or even the pros,” he said. “I just thought this was a good time to give back to the local community.”
With the Arabs moving to the De Anza League this year after having failed to produce a winning league record since at least 2005, Paterson thinks this is the perfect opportunity for him to start fresh and quickly build momentum to create a baseball program the community can be proud of.
“We’re putting together a really great coaching staff and getting these kids some good instruction and guidance for the future,” Paterson said. “I feel like we can really draw into the young talent we have here, and if we put in a good year or two, we’ll be back on track.”