Evan Yongue’s last name is homonymous with his age bracket — young — but he views that as a favorable attribute.
So do Ashland’s decision-makers, apparently.
Both Mark Swift, Ashland’s athletic director, and Yongue himself labeled Ashland’s new baseball coach as enthusiastic.
“Evan’s dedication, enthusiasm and experience as a staff assistant give us every confidence that he will be successful in his new responsibilities,” Swift said in a press release on Wednesday.
The 25-year-old is assuming the top spot in the Tomcats’ dugout after serving one year as an assistant to David Greene. Greene replaced Johnnie LeMaster just six weeks prior to the 2019 season. As expected, he resigned after leading Ashland to a 23-11 season that culminated in a 16th Region championship game appearance. Greene was named The Daily Independent’s All-Area Coach of the Year.
Yongue will undoubtedly continue to lean on Greene. Both work at Ashland Middle School, Greene as the principal and Yongue as a special education instuctor.
“He’s going to be my right-hand man,” Yongue said. “He’ll leave me alone to do my job, but if I need his help, he’ll be there. I assure you I will be in his office.”
Yongue said Greene is an ideal mentor.
“I couldn’t ask for a better guy to learn under,” Yongue said. “Everything he says is just so positive. Just seeing how he treats and respects the players, how he runs coaches meetings, scheduling practice, all of that.”
A 2018 Morehead State graduate, Yongue was the varsity pitching coach this past spring. Heading into the season, question marks surrounded the mound. With the help of a friend who happens to be a minor league hurler, Yongue helped emphatically erase those.
“I reached out to Logan Salow,” Yongue said of his former Ashland classmate. “We collaborated with each other and came up with a pitching program. It was about simple pitching progression. We had zero arm issues throughout the entire season.”
The program entailed weight-lifting twice a week during the season coupled with a slew of specific stretches. Long-tossing was an important piece to the puzzle, too.
As a result, five Tomcats who logged between 22 and 59 innings compiled earned run averages of between 1.73 and 3.80.
Two of those pitchers — Ryan Atkins and Asher Stevens — are set to return.
Hard-hitting catcher Cameron Marushi will be back to lead the offense. In limited time because of injuries, Marushi smashed two of Ashland’s 26 home runs last season.
“He’s a coach’s dream,” Yongue said. “He’s a dandy, just a yes-sir, no-sir type of guy.”
Yongue had long yearned to become a teacher. As an Ashland senior, he realized coaching intrigued him. Former football coach Leon Hart piqued his interest.
“Just seeing the way he treated the players and seeing the way that players respected him, he gave so much to our football program,” Yongue said. “I wanted to be able to give back like that.”
Yongue was part of successful teams on the football and baseball fields as a Tomcat. He was a member of the 16th Region baseball championship squads in 2012 and ’13.
He said he gravitated back to Ashland’s rich tradition after five years at Morehead State — he suited up for four seasons as a linebacker and was the linebackers coach for one fall.
Yongue is entering his second season as the Tomcats’ linebackers coach. He’ll continue to serve in that capacity along with his new gig.
“I’m used to a busy schedule,” said the single Yongue.
Luke Vincent, Chad Heineman, Mike Heineman, Shane Marushi and Derek Runyon will be Yongue’s assistants. Yongue said there will be at least one more, but all details aren’t finalized just yet.
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