EASLEY — Success breeds success, at least that’s what Easley High School Athletics Director Gil Payne is hoping for with the recent addition of a new baseball coach for the Green Wave.
Players, faculty, staff, and family gathered June 6 at Easley High School for the announcement of Josh Warner’s hire as the Green Wave’s new coach, following on the stellar career of the retiring Roger Finlay.
“This is a big hire in Easley. I know this community lives and breathes baseball,” Payne said. “We’re not replacing Roger Finlay. We’re looking to add to what he’s already built here at Easley High School.”
Warner comes to Easley from Tennessee where he played his college baseball at East Tennessee State University and went on to several coaching positions at the high school level. Warner’s resume includes a two-year stint with Jefferson County High School, the Volunteer state’s second largest school, amassing a 61-14 record.
Payne’s familiarity with Warner goes back to Payne’s own coaching career, where he recruited Warner at Brevard College, then coached against him at the prep ranks in Tennessee.
“I wanted to find someone who could take a foundation that was already built and that was strong in Easley already. I was looking to add the right person to add to those building blocks,” Payne said. “He’s (Warner) been a winner everywhere he’s gone. I watched him play and coached against him and he has character and that counts with me.”
Warner stepped right in following the announcement and let those in attendance know exactly where he stands as it concerns the Green Wave baseball program.
“I’m looking forward to this challenge in my coaching career and Easley High School is where I want to finish,” Warner said. “This is a baseball hotbed down here in South Carolina, and especially in this community. I take my baseball very serious, it’s who I am, and I can promise you one thing, we’re going to take this program to another level.”
Warner explained the job was of great interest to him from the moment it opened up and now that he has had a chance to see the community and facilities he’s pleased to be a part of Pickens County.
“I want to thank the entire community of Easley, everyone’s been so friendly and has welcomed me with open arms,” Warner said. “This is only my second chance to spend time here and I love it already. I woke up this morning and said get me to the field so I could get started.”
It just so happened Warner’s first act as the Green Wave’s new skipper was atop a lawn mower.