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Tuesday, May 20, 2014
Matt Branon is no stranger to North Augusta High School’s baseball team. As the team’s new head coach he’ll need to trade out the garnet for black and the ‘S’ on his hats for a ‘N,’ though.
Branon, the pitching coach for South Aiken the past five years for head coach Bob Polewski, has been a part of many successful seasons with the Thoroughbreds. He was part of the Class AAA Lower-State championship team in 2010, made it to the Class AAAA Lower-State semifinals in 2011 and 2012, and made it to the Lower-State championship in 2013 before losing to eventual state champion Lexington.
Principal John Murphy said more importantly than what he brings to the baseball field, that Branon is going to be a fantastic addition to the school’s faculty. He will teach social studies, like new head football coach and athletic director Brian Thomas. Branon will be a part of the school’s freshman academy.
“He’s a good teacher, and that’s very important to us at the school,” Murphy said. “He’s had a high level of success at South Aiken and will be a good fit for North Augusta. What impressed me about Matt was that he was not only an excellent coach, but he loved the sport.”
Murphy, who played American Legion baseball for Polewski, said that he had the utmost respect for the South Aiken coach. He said he would not do anything to harm their baseball program, but hired what he considers the best person that met the school’s qualifications.
“I have always believed that in any successful organization that you have to have great people,” he said. “You have to have great people leading the school, great staff members, great bus drivers, great clerical personnel, great students and so forth. Over this year we have lost some great people, but I think we are bringing in some great folks as well.”
Branon will not coach football for the school and will get started with the Jackets this week as the baseball coach. Murphy said that Branon will not teach until the fall, but that he will meet players this week and help formulate a plan for summer baseball. Murphy called that an “anxious time” for many parents, and that it’s also very important for the program for Branon to get started.
Scott Rodgers is the news editor at The North Augusta Star.