After a successful lone season at Lindsay, baseball coach Derrick Jenkins is departing to take over the Collinsville program.
Lindsay is hiring Gary Roland from Florence to take Jenkins’ place.
Jenkins said the move was best for his family.
“It got us a little closer to where my wife works,” Jenkins said. “It got me a few less sports, and just got me to where I could be with my family a little bit more than where I was at.”
Jenkins led the Knights to the regional finals for the first time since 2017. Jenkins went 28-6 with Lindsay, finishing second in District 10-2A with a 10-2 district record.
Jenkins’ son Logan Jenkins was a freshman pitcher and second baseman on the team. He will follow his father to his new school.
Collinsville will present a new challenge. Whereas Lindsay is a program accustomed to postseason play, the Pirates have been less consistent in the playoffs. Collinsville has not advanced to the second round since 2004.
Fifteen of Collinsville’s 17 players this past season were freshmen and sophomores. Jenkins said if he can get the young players to commit to his system, he believes success will follow.
“Usually, kids buy into what I ask them to do,” Jenkins said. “That’s probably the biggest part of how I do things… I feel like this is a group of hardworking kids. (Athletic director Garrett) Patterson already does a great job of high expectations and pushing kids. I just feel like walking in with their demeanor and who they are, I feel like just the way I handle things and do things, they’re going to want to run through a wall for me.”
Roland, like Jenkins, is moving after one season at his previous school. He spent four years at San Saba prior to Florence. Roland said he has been interested in the Lindsay job since he left San Saba.
“I like the program,” Roland said. “I like the way they do things here. They do it the right way. That’s the reason they win… The kids show up. They want to work hard. They listen. They’re coachable. You have success when you have those kind of kids.”
Roland said he is like an older brother to his players. He is hard on them and has high expectations for them, but he loves them, too.
Roland said he knows coaching Lindsay will be a challenge because the Knights have high expectations, but he is already impressed with the quality of Lindsay’s players. He said the elementary and middle school kids are more advanced that in places he has been previously.
“The kids are so much more physically gifted and knowledgeable about the game than what I’m used to down south, and it just blows my mind,” Roland said. “We had kids that wanted to turn (a double play), and they’re in third grade. If I said that somewhere where I’ve been before, that would blow their minds. I’m ahead of the curve when I have those kind of kids.”
The 2022 UIL baseball season is tentatively scheduled to begin Feb. 21.