Mingo Central head baseball coach Walt Cline will be taking a medical leave of absence from that position this spring.
Cline, the former coach at Gilbert, led the Miners in their first season last spring.
“I will be taking a medical leave for the season, due to unforeseen health issues,” Cline said on Tuesday. “My doctor recommended I take a year’s leave from baseball, and I will follow his advice. I hate to miss the season. This will be the first year without baseball in 30 years for me, so it will be a difficult adjustment.”
“Baseball has been a huge part of my entire life from playing to coaching. I think one year after I was done playing I started coaching and never looked back. While at Gilbert when I was coaching basketball and baseball, we made a state tournament appearance and regional finals in basketball the last two seasons. I would have baseball and basketball practice in the same evening to make sure the players got their 14 practices in to be ready to play,” Cline said.
“Both seasons we played our first game the day after the basketball players got their seventh day of practice in. I am use to staying busy and this will be a big change for me,” added Cline.
“I have great memories with baseball, when coaching the Mingo Chiefs summer traveling team, we won two state championships, a state runner-up, and finished 7th in the USSSA World Series in Oklahoma City, in three years. In 1994 I was an assistant coach to Tony Clusky when Matewan made the state tournament in baseball, with a group of kids I had coached from Little League through Senior League,” Cline said. “Then on Matewan’s State Championship baseball team was a special group of kids I had coached from Little League and on through.”
“I took great pride in both groups of player’s accomplishments. If I were never to be able to coach again, I have memories that will last a life time,” Cline said.
“This year is an important year for the Miners baseball team. Many of the players are underclassmen and didn’t see a lot of varsity playing time due to the number of experienced seniors I had last year,” he added. “This year they need fundamentals stressed, and most important they just need to get on the field and get experience. They are a good group of kids, and baseball is the only sport a lot of them play so many of them wait all school year for baseball season to start.”