Twenty-two years after Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong first sang the words, “I hope you had the time of your life,” David Greene did just that.

“Smooth” Greene made that declaration repeatedly throughout a whirlwind of a spring.

Hired on Feb. 5 — 10 days prior to the first official practice — as Ashland’s baseball coach, Greene guided the Tomcats to a 23-11 season that concluded with a 16th Region finals appearance.

Greene informed Mark Swift, Ashland’s athletic director, fellow coaches, players and their families that he is staying true to his interim tag and taking the one-and-done approach. He will not return for next season.

Ashland Middle School’s principal stepped in after former coach Johnnie LeMaster abruptly resigned due to family reasons.

“I’m a guy that wears my faith on my sleeve,” said Greene, Rose Hill Baptist’s youth pastor. “God put this in front of me and He just blessed us throughout the entire season. I’m still pinching myself over the fun we had this year.”

Ashland won its first three contests, including Rowan County’s only defeat against a region foe. The Tomcats finished strong, too, winning 10 of their last 12 games. They took down Raceland and West Carter en route to the region championship game against Rowan County. The Vikings toppled the Tomcats, 12-2, in five frames.

Greene was a familiar face to all the Tomcats. He coached several of them in Little League and was the principal for most of them at either Hatcher Elementary or Ashland Middle.

He was perfectly content with spending this spring as a spectator until the spot became vacant. He ultimately couldn’t pass up the chance to coach his senior son, Zach, and his teammates.

“I sound like a broken record, but I just had the time of my life,” said David Greene, a former Ashland and Marshall University player. “I couldn’t have scripted it. I couldn’t see it coming.”

Greene said the joys of this season nearly pulled him back to the diamond.

“It made it harder to make this decision, but there were so many people picking up the slack for me in so many areas of my life,” Greene said. “In fairness to the people I care about, I had to do this. I gotta pull my weight.”

Said Swift: “Coach Greene’s leadership was outstanding this season, under challenging circumstances. To become the head coach 10 days prior to the season, win 23 games and finish as a region finalist only scratches the surface. His positivity permeated the entire program; on the field, in the dugout and into the stands. We are grateful to Smooth and his staff for a job well done.”

Swift said Ashland will conduct a comprehensive search, beginning immediately.

“Every effort will be made to name the right fit as the next Tomcat head coach,” he said.

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asnyder@dailyindependent.com