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McPhersonSentinel - McPherson, KS
  • MHS hires Junction City baseball coach

  • The spring 2014 season wasn’t the easiest one for McPherson High School baseball, but the Bullpups are looking to make a fresh start in 2015 following the hiring of former Junction City High School coach Heath Gerstner.
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  • The spring 2014 season wasn’t the easiest one for McPherson High School baseball, but the Bullpups are looking to make a fresh start in 2015 following the hiring of former Junction City High School coach Heath Gerstner.
    The Bullpups are coming off a 7-14 season, where most of the drama was off the field, as a controversy over the coaching style of former head coach Steve Williams led to his resignation from MHS on April 8, after only a single doubleheader in the dugout.
    “I’m not really familiar with the situation,” Gerstner said. “I’ve heard rumors, obviously. I think everyone is just ready for a fresh start. The thing is that I’m a younger guy, so I think I can instill some energy back into the program and get back to doing things the right way.”
    Gerstner joins McPherson High after serving as the head coach of the Blue Jays for the past three seasons in the highly competitive Centennial League. This past season, Junction City went 9-14, with a 7-13 regular season mark and made it into the Class 6A State Baseball Tournament, where they lost to No. 1 seed, and eventual third place, Manhattan in the opening round May 29.
    In all, six of the 10 teams in the Centennial League made it into the postseason.
    “The level of competition is off the charts,” Gerstner said. “The seven games we won, we had to scratch and claw our way to the win.”
    Gerstner is a graduate of Nickerson High School, where he was part of the 2002 state championship team. He played college ball at Hutchinson Community College, where he earned an Associates in Arts degree.
    Gerstner then graduated from Kansas State University with a Bachelors in Agriculture, a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction, a Graduate Teaching certificate in Biology and a K-12 PE certification.
    Leaving Junction City was a tough decision for Gerstner, though, ultimately, the desire to be closer to family was a strong draw, as Gerstner’s fiance is from Lyons, in addition to his own family and friends that remain in the Hutchinson area.
    “It was a very tough decision,” Gerstner said. “What made it easier is that we think McPherson is a great community, not just athletically, but also for raising a family.”
    Gerstner serves as the Junction City Post 45 baseball head coach this summer and was an assistant football coach at Rock Creek High School.
    He also served as a volunteer undergraduate assistant football coach at K-State under offensive coordinator James Franklin.
    He has worked as a USSSA baseball umpire, is a member of the American Baseball Coaches Association, the Kansas Association of Baseball Coaches and the Kansas National Education Association.
    Page 2 of 2 - Gerstner will teach biology at MHS in the fall.
    Contact Chris Swick by email at cswick@mcphersonsentinel.com and follow him on Twitter @SwickSentinel.

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