Over eight years since he donned a Marshall baseball jersey as a player, Chace Pollock will put his cap and uniform back on as the Tigers' new head baseball coach.
On Wednesday, Marshall High School Activities Director Bruce Remme announced that Pollock, the Tigers' assistant coach last season, will be the new head coach for the baseball team. Pollock replaces Steve Fleck, who resigned in early July after four seasons as Marshall's head coach to accept a teaching position in Waconia.
"We are excited to have Chace move into the head baseball coach position," Remme said in a press release. "Chace brings with him a lot of energy, excitement and experience. The face that Chace has been in the high school program, the youth level program, and the Legion program, will provide a smooth transition for the entire community."
For Pollock, it is a full-circle moment since he graduated from MHS in 2004 after being coached up by former Tiger head coaches Pat Irsfeld and Jim Muchlinski.
"It seemed like a position, moving to the district here, where it felt like the head coach would be there for a while," Pollock said, "and being an assistant or somewhere under the head coach would be the future for a while. But things changed and things opened up, and I'm thankful for the opportunity and I'm ready to move forward."
Since graduating from St. John's, where he played baseball and football for the Johnnies, Pollock has been an assistant coach for the high school team in 2010 and 2012. In 2011, while student-teaching in Minneota, he served as an assistant for the Vikings. During the fall at Minneota, Pollock also worked with Southwest Minnesota State head baseball coach Paul Blanchard.
While Pollock has a few tweaks he hopes to implement, he has no plans to stray away from the ideas of his predecessor.
"A lot of (Fleck's) ideas will be continued through my coaching," Pollock said, "and some other things that I learned along the way will be sprinkled in."
A third-grade teacher at West Side Elementary, Pollock has also coached the Marshall Mudcats Legion baseball team for three seasons, and has worked with the Marshall Area Youth Baseball Association (MAYBA) for nine years.
"Seeing everybody come up and understanding how kids move through the program to where they step into the gym for that first practice this spring helps," Pollock said. "It helps seeing those kids as a coach for that long and having an idea going into that first practice of what our strengths could be and start to build around those things."
During Fleck's tenure as head coach, the Tigers went 60-30 and won Southwest Conference titles in 2010 and 2011.
"I wouldn't be where I'm at today without Steve, and I'm very thankful and grateful that I had my time with him," Pollock said. "With football and baseball under Fleck, then coaching under Blanchard at the college, wherever you're at, you always pick up a thing here or a thing there on how you'd like to run a program."
Though Marshall experienced recent regular-season success, a berth in the state tournament has eluded the Tigers. Last year, as the No. 1 seed in Section 3AA-North, Marshall fell 2-1 to New Ulm, then was eliminated from the section playoffs by Fairmont, which went on to win the section title.
Pollock's goal is to maintain the same success Marshall had during Fleck's time, while helping the team reach the state playoffs for the first time since 2005.
"You hope to instill a winning tradition with the kids, and a winning reputation and mentality when you take the field," Pollock said. "You just hope that everything that leads up to that point, you've done everything as a head coach that you can do. And I hope that I can do that and I will do everything I can to put them in that position to be successful."