Bob Evick isn’t finished making Madison High School baseball memories. He’ll just be doing it from a different part of the dugout.
Evick has stepped down after 22 seasons as the Mohawks’ head coach, but will stay on as an assistant to new head man Matt Morrison, who’s also Madison’s athletic director.
“No regrets at all,” said Evick, 57, who will remain in the classroom supervising students in Madison’s credit recovery program. “I loved being the head coach here at Madison. I loved all my players, the support of the parents and the community.
“I’ve grown weary of the day-to-day grind and the fundraising and the tryouts — the worst day of the year is when you have to tell someone they didn’t make the team, that’s just heartbreaking. I just think it’s time not to be the head coach. I’m ready to pass that on to somebody younger, and Coach Matt will do a great job with that.”
Evick submitted his letter of resignation in August, having directed the program from 1994 to 2001 and 2004 to 2017 (he took two years off to watch his son Robbie play college ball).
He had a record of 337-199 at Madison. His teams won four Southwestern Buckeye League championships and three sectional titles.
“I’ve got big shoes to fill, there’s no doubt about it,” Morrison said. “Bob is a man who truly loved his players. He’s got people who come back all the time and talk about how great of a coach he was, and it wasn’t just about the Xs and Os. They knew he cared about them. He’s just really embedded in the community.”
Morrison, 32, is a 2004 Monroe graduate who was a head coach for three years at Dayton Christian (47-33) and one year at Calvary Christian (15-16). The latter was 7-53 in the five years before he arrived, and Morrison is 4-for-4 when it comes to winning league titles as a head coach.
He was Evick’s varsity assistant last spring. Morrison played at Miami Middletown and Cedarville, where he earned a degree in athletic administration.
“We’re going to continue the success that Coach Evick has built, and we’re going to add to it,” said Morrison, who attended Madison schools from kindergarten to the eighth grade. “We’re going to work hard and put pressure on defenses. That’s kind of been my bread and butter. We’re going to move a lot.”
Morrison and his wife Emilie have a 1-year-old daughter, Teagan. He pointed to Evick, Monroe coach Bob Hunt and former Lakota West coach Bill Dreisbach as his biggest coaching influences.
Evick is also a Monroe graduate, Class of 1978. But he’s been a coaching fixture at Madison for decades between baseball, football, boys basketball and girls basketball, and he was inducted into the Miami Valley Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2014.
“I’d like to thank the Madison community for allowing me to be out here for 22 years coaching their kids,” Evick said. “I want to thank the kids for all they’ve done for me. Those wins are all theirs. I’ll take the losses — I probably goofed up a bunch of times — but the kids win the games.
“You always have a few disagreements with parents, but I learned something from Joe Urso. He told me one time, ‘When you become a head coach, never blame a parent for loving their kid. They always want the best for their kids.’ So I’ve tried to remember that little nugget from a Hall of Fame coach.”
Evick’s early love of sports and coaching came from his father. Ancile “Sonny” Evick was a longtime teacher and coach who passed away on Dec. 12, 2013 at the age of 87.
“I remember my dad coaching me in Little League back in the day,” Bob Evick said. “He watched me play in high school and college whenever he could, and he hardly missed a home game when I was head coach.
“Even when he couldn’t make it, I’d say, ‘Dad, it’s OK. I’m in my 50s.’ And he’d say, ‘I love to come and watch baseball. You do a good job with them, and I’m proud of you.’ You can’t put a price tag on that.”
Evick was a left-handed pitcher who played at Northern Kentucky University before shoulder surgery ended his career. He eventually got a degree from Miami.
He didn’t go right into teaching. Evick worked at Kings Island as an entertainer and sales representative before switching gears and turning to education.
If you went to Kings Island and watched some of the musical shows in the 1980s, you certainly may have seen Evick in action as a singer.
“I’ve obviously got a wide range of interests,” said Evick, who has continued to cultivate his love of music. He’ll be playing Daddy Warbucks in a production of “Annie Jr.” at the Performing Arts Academy in Middletown next month.
“I was traveling quite a bit with that job at Kings Island. I had three little kids and decided that traveling wasn’t for me. My wife was a teacher for 30 years down at Lakota, so I thought it would be perfect. I loved social studies, and I loved being with my kids all summer.”
He started teaching at Madison in 1991 and spent two years as the junior varsity baseball coach. When Mark Graber left the job, Evick became the head coach.
“Interviews weren’t quite as detailed as they are now,” Evick said. “I like to say I had a pulse, I was already in the building and I’d been here two years without doing anything too goofy on the ballfield. That was good enough. They gave me a chance, and I took it and ran with it.”
The early years weren’t easy. He had to recruit players within the school and work to find proper equipment. His first team finished 8-12, which proved to be his only losing season.
Evick hasn’t forgotten his first victory, a 6-3 triumph that came on a three-run homer by Aaron Perkins in the seventh inning.
“That was against Tri-County North down there in the valley,” Evick said. “Aaron Perkins up to the plate … a big, left-handed first baseman … using a wooden bat back in the day … hits a home run to left-center field … opposite field. I can’t get to Kroger and remember to get milk, eggs and whatever else I’m supposed to get, but I can remember that pitch going out to left-center like it was yesterday.”
Evick has three kids (Robbie, 35; Tyler 32; Kassie 30) and four grandchildren that he visits as often as possible. He called his wife Terri “a wonderful coach’s wife” who continues to support his time on the diamond.
Retirement? It’s not in his immediate plans.
“I still like coming to work,” said Evick, who lives several hundred yards away from the school. “Madison is a place where we don’t really have a town, so the school is a huge part of our community. People rally around the school, and I’m glad to be a part of it. I plan on living out here until I push up daisies.”