OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - Chris Blake learned a lot from longtime St. Martin baseball head coach Greg Williams.
After 28 years leading St. Martin, Williams announced his retirement.
Following a quick coaching search, new St. Martin athletic director Jesse Kanode announced Blake as the new head coach.
"I don't think in my mind, at any time, that I had any other thought of going to any other school besides St. Martin," Blake said. "I love it here. This is the community I grew up in, this is a community that I love and I want to be here for as long as they'll have me."
Blake has been on the job for less than a week and says the only thing that's really changed has been his job title. His four years as an assistant coach helped him prepare for this kind of moment. While the Yellow Jackets haven't made it to the postseason since the 2011-12 season, he's hoping it's literally a quick return to the playoffs.
"We're not going to go too much away from what (Williams) implemented in the program," Blake said. "There are a few small details that we want to add as far as defense and offense. We want to be more of a running team. I think we have a little bit of speed right now. Basically we're playing small ball. A little bit more small ball than we've played for the past couple of seasons."
The 1994 graduate of St. Martin will want to be seeing his guys run quickly towards home plate and the goal of winning a region 8-6A championship. Off the field, however, now that he has a different brand of truck than he grew up with, and a family with some of the biggest smiles you've ever seen, the new head coach hopes life takes its time running around the basepaths.
While he enjoys his new job, his number one priority is his family. He's been married to his wife, Tiffany, for eight years now. They have a one-year-old son, Davis, who apparently throws a baseball with his right arm and won't be a southpaw like his dad.
Their six-year-old daughter, Emersyn, might be heading towards a fine arts degree once she grows up.
"She's more of a dance and cheerleader type," Blake said. "That's what mom did when she was in high school. She did professional dancing so she's pushing Emersyn to be a dancer. If she's going to push her that way, that's fine with me.
"I still got her a glove and a ball. We throw it around every now and then."
Chris had a Chevrolet truck when he was younger, switched to Toyota and now owns a Ford after being convinced by Tiffany's father, Danny.
"It is a big deal (switching from Chevy)," Blake said. "(Danny) is a very enticing guy. He can make you believe in stuff. He's a great guy.