By AJ MAZZOLINI
East Oregonian

HERMISTON — After four seasons at the helm of the Hermiston Bulldogs baseball program, head coach Brent Mattson resigned this week, citing family time and tensions with school administration for the decision.

“Obviously spending more time with my wife and my children is a huge reason not to coach, but probably the biggest reason not to coach would be the lack of support,” Mattson said.

“I mean I definitely had support in the community for sure, but there were some key people in the baseball community. And they had pull and they had influence. In the end you’ve got to ask yourself where your priority is at and if it’s worth it.”

The move came after Mattson met with Hermiston Athletic Director Mike Kay on Tuesday to discuss the baseball program’s future.

Kay said he supported Mattson during his time at the head of the baseball team, adding that he would recommend Mattson for future baseball coaching openings with a letter of recommendation.

Mattson, who has four children, will continue to teach health and wellness classes along with physical education at the high school. But coaching baseball had become a year-long time eater that overlapped too often with family time.

“The hard thing about baseball is there’s a given amount of commitment for the summer, as well,” Kay said.

Mattson coaches the Devin Oil Hermiston Heat, a junior American Legion baseball team during the summer months. He will continue to coach for the remainder of the season.

Mattson, who coached as an assistant at Kennewick High (WA) before coming to Hermiston and won a 2008 Class 3A state title with the Lions, was 47-58 overall with Hermiston. The Bulldogs went 29-37 in conference play during his tenure. Hermiston was 9-17 this spring and 5-7 in the Columbia River Conference, finishing second.

The best year for the Dawgs under Mattson came in 2011, when the team won 16 games, again finishing in second place in the conference. Hermiston failed to make the final bracket for the state playoffs though, losing in the second round of play-in action to Sandy at home, 4-2.

Mattson said he enjoyed his time in the purple and gold and would make the same choice to leave Kennewick had he the opportunity to replay the decision. Being a head coach was a difficult jump, though.

“It’s different being the head guy,” he said. “Coming down here I learned through trial and error how to work with the media, work with the youth programs and all that. It was a good experience.”

Hermiston will begin its search to fill the vacancy in July, Kay said. A selection committee composed of other varsity coaches, administrators and “people from the baseball community” will deliberate on the applicants.

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Contact AJ Mazzolini at ajmazzolini@eastoregonian.com or 541-966-0839.

 


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