Congratulations to Brian Hucks, Head Baseball Coach of the Lexington Wildcats. Tuesday night, April 9th, 2013, Coach Hucks’ Wildcats delivered a well deserved 300th Win by beating South Aiken 3-2 and continued their trek toward a SC 4A State Championship.
The excitement was great just over two years ago as it was announced that Lexington High School would be bringing back one of it’s own to coach the Wildcat Baseball Team. At the time, I had met Coach Hucks and had seen him often as his family attended the church where I was serving on staff. I didn’t realize then how successful and how well respected he was and also didn’t realize that I would soon get the opportunity to be a part of the local radio broadcasts following the team.
Fast forward to April 3rd. We traveled to cover the First Place Wildcats bid against the Aiken Green Hornets and watched Lexington dominate the game with a 12-2 win in 6 innings. As always, during the post game interview, Coach Hucks focused on his players, their performance and abilities, and gave us a good picture of what was ahead in the coming week as South Aiken was scheduled to visit Lexington. He never once eluded to anything about his own record or skills, but we learned very quickly through our good friend Tony Ciuffo (father of highly ranked Wildcats Catcher Nick Ciuffo and Lexington Baseball SID) about the implications of the upcoming game. Coach Hucks 300th win was in the on deck circle.
Before each game broadcast, Brad Cunningham (play by play announcer) and I try to meet with Coach Hucks to gain insight on his perspective on the game and also to record a pregame interview. On April 9th, before recording, I started by asking if he wanted any mention of number 300 and he politely refused. He wanted us to stay focused on South Aiken being the toughest region opponent they would face and their goal of winning the 4A Region V Title. But in the back of everyone’s mind was this fact that the team had a great opportunity on this night to deliver a special gift to their coach. Brad and I were very obvious on the air that we were pulling hard for the Wildcats to achieve this big win!
If you are around Lexington High School athletics, you will often hear about how Coach Hucks has high expectations of his team, but also about how he cares for each one of his players. I saw a true glimpse of how he cares for his team and how his team respects and loves their coach following the emotional 3-2 Win #300. After the two teams shook hands, Coach Hucks met his own team at home plate with a handshake and embrace for each player. He truly understands that this game is about the players and they give him so much credit for their success.
Another member of the team that gets credit from Coach Brian Hucks is his father, known to the team as “Papa.” Coach Hucks often says, “I take care of coaching the team and “Papa” takes care of coaching me! As the head coach was being surrounded by assistant coaches, “Papa”, reporters, and fans with congratulations, the team unveiled a banner reading “Brian Hucks – 300th Win” and then snuck up on Hucks with the traditional Gatorade bath!
Usually, Coach Hucks joins us in the booth soon after the handshakes and gives us his perspective on the game. For #300, we probably had the longest post game report ever as the coach took time to hear the kind words from his team, coaching staff, parents, and fans. We eventually heard from him on-air and he shared comments first about the great win for this team and his players and the fact that the players continue to perform and meet the expectations of a championship team. As we moved into talking about what it means for a high school coach to have won 300 games, Coach Hucks shared words that are still fresh today. While trying to hold back some emotion, he simply and humbly responded, “It means that I am getting older and that I have had the privilege to coach some great players.”
The first picture above (Coach Hucks and his family) and the one here (Coach Brian Hucks, Coach “Papa” Hucks, and the Wildcats) are from the Lexington High School Baseball facebook page. Credit for the awesome photos goes to Mandy Smith, inspired by her son Cody, the Wildcats Shortstop.
Some of those great players and fans posted their thoughts through social media:
Cats win!!! Cats win!!! Coach Hucks gets #300!!!! ITS GREAT TO BE A WILDCAT!!!!! Complete story and stats on historic nite at Wildcat Field coming at http://lexingtonwildcats.com
We have the best baseball coach in the entire country.
#300andcounting A handful of coaches get to #300 wins. But few can change his players lives along the way. @bhucks17 best coach and man I have ever met.
@bhucks17 on his 300th win! Honored to be a part of it.
@bhucks17 on his 300th win!! #17
Lexington beats South Aiken 3-2. Coach Brian Hucks notches 300th career win.
@bhucks17 on his 300th win @bhucks17 means more to me as a person and coach then I could ever explain. I wouldn’t be the player or person I am if it wasnt for him…..I want to thank you for everything you have done for me and congrats on your 300th win. #300andcounting
Everyone keep blowing up
@bhucks17 twitter and keep letting him know he is the greatest coach in the country because it is the truth @bhucks17 won his 300th game tonight.What is most important is that is a lot of kids that have been around a great coach and even better man
@bhucks17 on his 300th career win tonight. We couldn’t have gotten this far without him.
@bhucks17 on his 300th win, best coach in the state by far!
Hey… Whats a 300th career win without a few grey hairs along with it… Congrats to the best coach I’ve ever played for,
@bhucks17 ! @bhucks17 is the best coach/man I’ve ever been around. You mean more than you know to us. Congrats on #300 and many more to come. @bhucks17 I have been there in the trenches for 100th, 200th and 300th win and be here till the end bra we attached at the hip boss man
Lexington edges South Aiken 3-2; Brian Hucks notches 300th win
This is why he’s best around….Honored to say I had a hand in a few of those 300.
Charlie Trowbridge Congrats to Coach Hucks and the Wildcats!!
Jan Fox So proud of Brian & the Wildcats! Class act!
Brenda H Myers GREAT JOB..BRIAN..
LeAnne Cooper Morris Way to go Hucks!!
Ann Cox WOW!
Hal Banks Congratulations!!
As I finish this article up, I just found an article posted today by Baseball America’s Assistant Editor, Nathan Rode, that tells the story well. I’ll post the link below.
Again, congratulations Coach Brian Hucks and Lexington Wildcats on not only your athletic success and #300, but also the way you win as a team and care for each other. The Lexington community has a great group of guys – both coaches and players, to be proud of this spring!
Catch the Wildcat Baseball Game of the Week broadcast on 107.9 WLXM and lakemurrayradio.com.