Before the start of last season, Brad Deal took over a Windsor High School baseball program that had finished last in its conference for three straight years.
In his first season, the Wizards finished fourth in the conference, won their district tournament and advanced to the state tournament.
Now in his second season, Windsor has won seven of its last eight games and is 7-3 overall.
So, what did he do to turn the program around so quickly?
“I honestly don’t feel like I did anything,” Deal said. “I came in, and we have great kids in this program — they’re the ones that have turned the program around.”
Certainly the players are the ones most responsible for on-field results, but with all due respect coach, your players disagree with your assessment.
“These guys have been around the game forever. They know how to fix everything,” senior shortstop Lance Cox said of Deal and his coaching staff. “They’ve been around so long, they know how to win. They know what to do, they know how to prepare us before games.”
Cox said the biggest change in the last two years is how ready for each game the coaches get the team. That attention to detail has led to soaring confidence in the squad, and they now hit the field with a quiet swagger.
As Deal suggested, however, it’s not all coaching. The team comprises multisport athletes that have won in their other sports and expect to do the same on the diamond.
Deal was a star player at Fort Collins High School, played collegiately at the University of Northern Colorado, coached for eight years at Fort Collins High School and served as an assistant under his dad for five years. Winning is in his blood. After taking two years off of coaching when he left Fort Collins, Deal couldn’t be happier in Windsor.
“They work hard, and probably the best part is that they’re so much fun to be around,” Deal said. “Every day that I get here I’m just excited to be with these kids.”
He’s also excited about the future. His team has only three seniors, and the pitching rotation is made up of three juniors and two sophomores whom he expects to get better and better.
The Wizards (7-3, 4-1 Tri-Valley Conference) were ranked No. 7 in the Denver Post preseason poll. They lost their first two games, but have since gone 7-1.
Now they hope to continue to improve and do some damage in the state tournament. Last year, Windsor lost 10-1 to perennial power Air Academy in the state tournament.
“Last year when we won districts, we were just so excited,” Cox said. “Now this year we want to win districts and do something in the (state tournament), not just make it there; we want to do something and get our name out there.”
Follow sports reporter Kevin Lytle on Twitter @Kevin_Lytle and at facebook.com/ KevinSLytle.