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Brett Blackmon’s “dream job” is now a diamond reality.
Blackmon, a Lancaster native and a former Bruins’ baseball player, is the new Lancaster High School baseball coach.Blackmon replaces Steve Williams, who retired at the end of the Bruins’ 2008 season after leading the LHS baseball program for the last 16 seasons. He fashioned a 195-189-1 record, which included seven winning seasons and four playoff bids.Blackmon, a 1981 graduate of Lancaster High School where he played football and baseball, said his new job is one he’s always sought.“I’m tickled to death to again be part of the Bruins family,” said Blackmon, who is leaving Great Falls High School in neighboring Chester County where he’s built the Red Devils from scratch into a Class A baseball power. “I knew in the eighth grade when I talked to coach (John) Daurity that I wanted to one day coach baseball in Lancaster.”Daurity, the head baseball coach at Socastee High School in Myrtle Beach, is credited with resurrecting the LHS baseball program in the mid-1970s and grooming Al Berry and Steve Williams to follow in his footsteps and mold the Bruins into a Class AAAA baseball power.Blackmon played two seasons of baseball under Berry at LHS.“This is the job coach Blackmon’s always wanted,” said LHS athletic director Mark Strickland. “This is his dream job. Coach Blackmon is the right fit for us right now. He’s the choice.”Blackmon, 44, was one of four applicants interviewed for the job which drew 12 candidates.“Coach Blackmon’s credentials were great,” Strickland said. “He had taken a program which had been non-existent and been successful. Coach Blackmon is a proven winner.”Blackmon, who has 20 years experience as a high school head baseball coach at three different schools, has spent the last eight seasons at Great Falls where he restarted the Red Devils’ program and molded them into a Class A baseball power.The Red Devils have been in the Class A Upper State playoffs the last five seasons and the 2007 GFHS team, which went 19-8, won the school’s first-ever Conference III-A baseball championship. His 2008 team went 15-13 and finished as the region runner-up.Blackmon, 247-194 as a high school head baseball coach, also rebuilt the Dreher High School baseball program from scratch, leading the Blue Devils for 10 seasons and winning three region titles and four district crowns. He also coached two years at Eastside High School in Greenville.Blackmon has served as a North-South All-Star baseball coach on two occasions, working as an assistant in 1999 and a North head coach last year when his team won the annual all-star tournament.Blackmon said his goal is to rekindle some of the old baseball excitement of past Bruins’ glory days.“With USC-Lancaster starting a program, I feel this can only strengthen the area high school baseball programs,” Blackmon said. “Baseball is due another ‘step-up.’ I’d like to see us recapture some of the old glory. There’s a certain sense of excitement for the playoffs, but I want to see excitement at every game each week.”Blackmon, married to the former Penny Wright of Buford, will teach health and physical education at A.R. Rucker Middle School and serve as the Rams’ football coach.