Jeff Givens, who spent eight seasons as an assistant coach at Henderson County, was named the baseball coach at Webster County on Tuesday.
Givens has been away from the game since 2017 as he pursued his administrative license. He will begin his duties in the Webster County school system in two weeks as the coordinator for the alternative center in addition to teaching one graphic design class at the high school.
“It’s a natural fit for me to be a coordinator at the alternative center then also coach baseball,” Givens said. “Ultimately that leadership role is what I was looking for and they gave me that opportunity.”
Givens was a part of two Second Region championship teams at Henderson County as a member of Nathan Isenberg’s coaching staff in 2012 and 2013. The Colonels were the state runners-up in 2012 and a state semifinalist in 2013.
Givens will take over a Webster County program that has had only one winning season since 2004, which was one year after a run of three straight appearances in the state tournament.
“The first thing you have to do is change the culture within the community and within the program,” said Givens, who is a native of Mount Vernon, Indiana, and played college baseball at Rend Lake College in Illinois. “You’ve got to ask, ‘Why not us? Why not us in the region championship? Why not us making the trip to the state tournament each year?’”
The Trojans’ last winning season came in 2012 and they haven’t won a postseason game since 2007. The teams’ 13-20 record this spring provided the most wins for the Trojans since 2015. Givens succeeds Mark Spainhoward, who resigned after five years as Webster County’s head coach.
“Changing the mindset is probably the first thing and building confidence in the kids that are there,” Givens said. “And getting a good group of coaches together to help facilitate that.”
Givens said he is looking to build more than a short run of success at Webster County. “It’s more about building sustained success there — building success that’s going to be attainable each year and you can carry it throughout.”
Improving the youth programs in the county would be necessary to making that happen, he said.
“A lot of their kids go either to Madisonville or (Henderson). It would be nice if we had facilities where the kids could stay there and play and get better together,” he said.