CLINTON—As a high school player, Brad Farrell was part of a terrific Clinton baseball program.
Now, he’ll try to get the Cougars back to the glory days as its head coach.
Farrell, a 1993 graduate, was a three-year varsity player and was twice honored as first-team all Rock Valley Conference.
The Cougars regularly competed for a spot atop the RVC in the early 1990s, and Farrell believes the program can get back to that level.
“I really feel like we have a bright future here,” Farrell said. “In the short-term, we’ve got our three top pitchers all coming back with experience. And in the long term, I’m going to work with Clinton Youth Baseball to have some cohesion.”
Farrell assisted former coach Marc Montez for the last three years, giving him a wealth of knowledge about players currently in the program. After Montez resigned to spend more time with his family, Farrell swooped on the opportunity.
“The kids all really look up to me,” Farrell said. “I’ve been with them the last four years, and they know what to expect with me. Right now, my expectations for the season are pretty high. Whenever you have your top three pitchers coming back and a solid nucleus of kids, if you put in the work, you should fare pretty well.”
Farrell said working with the youth program, including holding camps in the summer, will be a significant focus.
“For whatever reason, since I’ve been here as an assistant, there’s been a huge disconnect between eighth grade and ninth grade,” Farrell said. “We just aren’t getting the kids to come out for high school baseball after they’ve been playing for their entire youth. I want to connect our varsity kids with these kids in the youth program so they’ve got somebody to look up to. There’s got to be a better connection there, and that’s one thing I’ll work on.”
Farrell has two daughters who have both graduated from Clinton, and the opportunity to impact the lives of young athletes drove him to take the job.
“I’m really doing this for the kids,” Farrell said. “I feel like I can relate to them very well, and they know that I’m a very open person and that I’ll always be there for them. It’s a unique time right now, because we’re in the same boat as every other school in the area: Our sophomores have never played a high school game, and neither have our freshmen. That’s half your program that because of COVID hasn’t had an opportunity yet. So we’ve got two new grades to teach the culture of Clinton baseball. We’ve got our work cut out for us, but if they do the work and put in the time, we’ll be in good shape.”
Farrell said the players have been active thus far this fall.
“Right now they are doing open gyms twice a week,” Farrell said. “They’ve been abiding by all the COVID guidelines. We’ve been hitting a lot, and just now we are starting to throw. They are enjoying what they had lost last spring. Now I just hope and pray we’ll have a season starting in March.”