- March 26, 2015
WINDERMERE — After leading the softball program at Windermere Prep for the past three seasons, head coach Wes Pollock has stepped down from the helm.
The longtime baseball and softball coach, who also coaches one of the travel teams for the ultra-competitive Windermere Wildfire, said the decision was rooted in a variety of factors — including the graduation of his younger daughter, Sydney, and the chance to watch her and her sister, Arielle, play in college.
Both girls will be suiting up for the Southern Miss Golden Eagles this year.
“I didn’t get the opportunity to see my older daughter, Arielle, play at Southern Miss the last couple years because the seasons sort of coincide and overlap with each other,” Pollock said. “It will be nice to go and see them a little bit more. As much as I love coaching and love being with the kids and helping them out, I have to give a little bit back to family, too.”
Sydney will be a freshman with the Golden Eagles, while Arielle, an outfielder, will be a junior.
Pollock said he came to the program at Windermere Prep more than three years ago at the request of some parents. The program had not been fielding a varsity team, and Pollock recognized the opportunity. He also was excited to have his children prepared for college by the school’s rigorous academics.
“I gave them my vision of how to get it off the ground, and we did that,” he said. “We had to really go grassroots with the fundamentals. You take the same basic fundamentals (from coaching travel ball) and you apply them here — that’s why I think we got better. But the expectation level has to be tampered with.”
The Lakers went 12-8 in 2013 and 2014 before taking a step back to finish under .500 in 2015. Pollock said although interest in the program has increased over the years, Windermere Prep never was able to locate an elite arm to ride to postseason success.
“Our issue is we’ve never had pitching,” Pollock said. “We scored runs. … We just couldn’t keep opponents off the board. Pitching was always the issue.
“Had we had one of those dominant pitchers … I think we would have won districts,” he said.
Just a few weeks before announcing his resignation, Pollock and the program helped to host a college exposure camp that had more than 80 players attend with seven different Division I, II and Junior College programs on-site instructing and observing the talent pool.
Whether it was through the Lakers or the Wildfire, Pollock said helping students get to college and ideally getting that tuition paid through a scholarship always has been a big passion of his — and will continue to be. Pollock said although he will not coach a team for the Wildfire in the near future, he plans to remain involved as a consultant for the program.
After all, when the Pollocks moved to Florida from Canada, it was baseball and softball that helped ease the transition and make new friends, so giving back to the game is no burden.
“When we moved here, we didn’t know what we were getting into,” Pollock said. “We were a softball and baseball family from Canada. We just landed here, and it’s like, ‘Wow, we made a lot of friends.’”
As for what’s ahead for the Lakers, Pollock feels the future is bright. He noted the program’s younger players — players such as twins Meredith and Madison Workman — are increasingly involved in travel ball.
“I think if the program can stay the course … I think there’s more coming,” Pollock said.
Contact Steven Ryzewski at [email protected].