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Pharr addresses UT baseball


The Farragut-to-Tennessee baseball pipeline has been a continuous flow during Tommy Pharr’s first 11 seasons as FHS Admirals head coach.

With three former Ads currently Tennessee Vols — senior infielder/designated hitter Cody Brown, freshman reliever/left fielder Matt Ramsey and redshirt junior pitcher Rob Catapano — Pharr was right at home amongst Big Orange brass late last month.

The FHS skipper, having won four Class AAA state championships the past six years while twice being named National Coach of the Year (2003 by Baseball Coaches of America and StudentSports.com), was featured speaker during UT’ Baseball‘s weekly luncheon Thursday, March 26, at Calhoun’s on the River, Neyland Drive.


“We’ve got a pretty good history with U-T … my first year at Farragut [1998] we had a young man named Brandon Hopkins who went to U-T and played in the outfield, started four years,” Pharr said during a 10-minute address. “I think we’ve had somebody there every year since then.

“The biggest thing for me, I’ve been blessed,” he added.

Saying he was a “volunteer assistant” at Baylor University (Waco, Texas) of the Big 12 Conference, Pharr told of how he got to FHS with help from UT coaches. “I knew coach [Larry] Simcox, coach [Rod] Delmonico, talked to them a little bit,” Pharr said. “They told me about the job, so I just kinda came up on a whim, liked the area, got offered a job, and have been blessed ever since I’ve been there.”

Pharr said his intention at FHS has been to “try to model our program a little bit after college. Some people think we recruit, but we really don’t.”

Speaking about UT pitching coach Fred Corral, Pharr said, “I’ve talk to Fred forever, real good friends with him, we try to do our pitching stuff very similar.

“I think that helps our guys; one, I think it obviously helps ’em in high school, and hopefully helps ’em when they go to college.”

The FHS skipper also said he wants “good people” who “I enjoy being around,” adding his team “tries to do community service stuff. We’ve had a lot of great players at Farragut, we’ve had a lot of good kids.”

Pharr said he wants his FHS players to be good role models, pointing out how his son, Case, 8, “is around our dugout … I want to be able to say, ‘If he wanted to grow up and be like Cade Stallings [senior All-state third baseman], hey, that’s a good thing.’

“There’s a lot of good kids who have thought more about the team than themselves.”

Along those lines, Pharr recalled the 2004 story of Kyle Waldrop, All-American pitcher-first baseman who became the Minnesota Twins’ first-round draft choice — 25th overall as a pitching prospect in ’04.

Concerning getting out the word “to let people know when Kyle’s going to pitch,” Pharr said Waldrop rejected posting the information on FHS’s Web site, admiralbaseball.com, because “‘I don’t want people to look at that and think is the Kyle Waldrop Show.’ … That said volumes to me about how that’s just the kind of guy you want in your program.”

About his 2008 graduates, on top of losing Ramsey, state Player of the Year Michael Williams, now catching at Kentucky, and Joey Delmonico (Volunteer State Community College), Pharr praised his unsung grads.

“A lot of ’em didn’t play, but one of ’em was a courtesy runner … we had another guy who was our sign picker,” he said. “That’s all he did was lock in, and he was good at it too, to try to pick the other coach’s signs. They weren’t over there just hangin’ out and chewing seeds … they did everything they could to help us win.”

Pharr added. “Whether we have that this year or not remains to be seen. We’ve got some good kids. I think we will.”

 

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