East Hall High has appointed Eric Fowler to the position of head baseball coach, which was recently vacated after Wesley Crow stepped down from the position.
Fowler spent last season, his first with the team, as the Vikings’ pitching coach. The spot will be his first as a head coach.
“I’ve had some people telling me, ‘You’re ready, you’re ready, you’re ready,’ and it finally clicked,” Fowler said. “I threw my name in the hat to the administration and went through the interview process and here I am. It fell into place.”
Fowler coached for two years at the middle school level in the Savannah area after graduating from Armstrong State University. The 28-year-old pitched for Armstrong from 2010-12, with the Pirates winning the Peach Belt Conference in Fowler’s senior year.
East Hall athletic director George Morgan said he and Vikings’ principal Jeff Cooper had a conversation about the hire and both felt Fowler’s youth would bring new enthusiasm to the program.
“There was a feeling with the administration that he developed a great rapport with the students and parents,” Morgan said. “With him being young, there may be ups and downs, but that’s with anything in life. We feel great with the character he brings to the table and we feel he serves our program well as the head baseball coach.”
Fowler said he feels his connection with the players is one of his strong points as a coach.
“We’ve got a great relationship,” he said. “When they looked at hiring me, they figured out the guys would want to play for me. I’m going to push them. I love those guys. It’s a great group of players, but better kids.”
Fowler said he was able to learn a lot in the year he was working for Crow and would have loved to continue working for him had he not stepped away.
“Wes is very good mechanically,” Fowler said. “Not just mechanically, but he was an all-around baseball genius — one of the best minds I’ve ever been around. He was easy to work with, easy to work for. He was somebody you really wanted to work for. I would have worked for him for years to come.”
Fowler said he tells his team “last season is last season, but don’t forget how that feels.” Last season’s Vikings were 9-16 overall, 4-14 in region play and missed the playoffs.
For the 2016-17 school year, the East Hall will be in a new region after realignment from the Georgia High School Association (GHSA). The Vikings’ new region consists of familiar foes in Dawson County, Lumpkin County and Fannin County, and also brings in North Hall and Greater Atlanta Christian.
“We’re looking to make a push in this region over the next few years,” Fowler said. “Nobody’s going to give us a chance and I get that, we all get that, and we’re going to play that way. I don’t want them to forget how 4-14 and last place feels. We’re going to try to open some eyes and shock some people hopefully.”
As far his team, Fowler said the core of the team will be sophomores and juniors.
“We’ve got good, legitimate players, they’re just young and it showed last year,” Fowler said. “They’ve got to grow up in a hurry. We’re going to be relying heavily on those guys, so we need them to stay healthy.”
Fowler got his bachelor’s degree in early childhood education from Armstrong State. He’s certified in health and physical education, as well as science and social studies. He teaches at East Hall Middle School.