Lincoln High School’s baseball program will have a new head coach for 2020.
The Talladega County Board of Education approved the hiring of Matt Collier during a meeting a week ago.
Collier previously served as the pitching and catching coach for Sylacauga’s varsity and the head coach of the Aggies’ junior varsity.
He said he plans to bring lessons he’s learned on the southern end of Talladega County with him to Lincoln.
“At Sylacauga, things are done the right way,” he said. “It’s a lot of hard work -- offseason hard work, weight room hard work and doing all the small things right.
“Sylacauga has had a lot of success the past few years, going to the third round (in 2018) and being in the Final Four this past year.
“Knowing how successful practices are supposed to be run is going to be big for me. I think I’m going to carry a lot of the same things to Lincoln.”
With the 2020 season nine months ahead, Collier said he’ll be conducting evaluations in June and helping the team reach some short-term goals in preparation for the season.
“We’ll work out three times a week and maybe play a few playdates against other teams,” Collier said. “We’re going to instill the work ethic that I’m going to expect throughout the year once baseball season actually starts. That’s the big thing is just instilling the work ethic and getting them used to how we’re going to do things now.”
Collier said his long-term goal would be to win the area title, host in the first round of the playoffs and advance to the second round.
As a member of Sylacauga’s staff, Collier saw the Feb. 28 game when the Aggies defeated Lincoln 10-0.
“Lincoln’s got a lot of good-looking kids,” he said. “That’s one thing you notice right when they get off the bus. They’re good-sized kids with a lot of good arms and they’re very athletic.
“I know (they had) a sophomore lefty pitcher (who) came in against us and I thought he was pretty good. He pounded the strike zone. That was in the county tournament this past season.”
A 2011 Sylacauga graduate, Collier played three seasons at Talladega College before receiving an invitation to play in the Western Major Baseball League (WMBL) in Canada.
“That was a really good experience for me because I got to play with guys from all over the United States and in Canada and see how they do things,” he said. “I just picked up a lot from playing with all the different people from different countries and different states because everybody does things a little bit different.
“It’s really helped me explain the game in a little bit different ways. Instead of one way to explain it, I can explain the same thing in a different way to make sure each kid understands what I’m trying to get across.”
Collier said his transition to Lincoln has been smooth.
“Everything in Lincoln’s been great so far,” he said. “I’ve only met a few people, but I’m actually here right now working on the field. I’ve expanded the bullpen.
“The people I’ve met have been great and very welcoming. They’re all excited about the baseball season.”
He added he was thankful and grateful to Sylacauga administrators for giving him his first job and Lincoln’s administration for his first opportunity as head coach at the varsity level.