Coach departs with sadness, gratitude

Sweet Home Baseball holds a huge place in my heart, which helps to explain the purpose of this message.

In the fall of 2009, I was hired to take over the reins of the Sweet Home baseball program. The past five years as the head coach have been the best years of my life. I have grown as a coach and as a man.

In June, I went in to the school office to meet with Steve Brown, the athletic director. At the time of that meeting, I was informed that my coaching contract would not be renewed to coach the baseball team for the 2014-15 school year, as the administration wanted to attach the baseball job to a teaching position in order to attract new teachers in the community.

While my heart is sad, I know that I will turn a negative situation into a positive. A great former Husky coach once told me, “If you’re made of the right stuff, a hard fall will result in a high bounce.”

I am made of the right stuff because of the great coaches that I have had mentor me. Men like Dan Tow, Rob Younger, Lynn Ellis, Steve Thorpe and Billy Snow are role models in this community, and they are guys I look up to.

My hope is that I have had a similar impact on student athletes’ lives as those coaches have had on mine. This is why I coach.

I’d like to take a moment to specifically thank Coach Dan Tow. Coach Tow has been a big part of the Sweet Home baseball program, and a big part of my life for more than 15 years. Coach first put my name on a lineup card as a player at Crescent Valley High School in the summer of 1998. We have been paired at the hip ever since.

At times I probably drove him crazy, but he has been one of my role models ever since. Just around that time, his oldest son, Justin was born.

How time flies. Eventually I would receive what I considered my dream job, the Head Baseball Coach of the Huskies, and years later I’d be penciling Justin’s name on a Sweet Home Baseball lineup card, with Coach Tow by my side in the dugout. When I took over as the Head Coach of the program, Dan played a large part in helping me get the job. Coach Tow, thank you!

I will miss being an active participant of Sweet Home baseball. We have done things the right way. Together, as a program, we have put a product on the field that is first class, successful and one that I am very proud of. The success we have had is a reflection of support from alumni, parents and everyone in the community. For that, I would like to thank you all.

To give back to all of the alumni, who have donated countless hours, money, sweat and tears, I started a process to change the name of the field before I knew I wouldn’t be returning. Currently named “The Sweet Home Varsity Baseball Field,” my plan was to change the name of the field to “Alumni Field.” My hope was that changing the name would give back to everyone whom has worked so tirelessly on the field to make the product a success over the years, and my hope is that whoever takes over the program will follow through with those plans to change the name.

Thank you to The New Era for all the great publicity over the years. Working with such a professional organization has been a pleasure.

Thank you to all the parents who have been so supportive. Thank you to all of my assistant coaches for all the sweat, leadership, determination and time you have put in to making this a positive experience for the players and myself. Assistant coaches don’t get enough recognition, and they definitely deserve it. Thank you to the coaches’ wives and families for letting them devote the time.

I’d like to recognize Coach Josh Blachly. He is not only a great baseball coach, but someone who has become one of my best friends.

Thank you to my family and friends who’ve been by my side and supported me on this ride. Thank you to Sweet Home School District for giving me the opportunity to lead the program.

Despite the surprising circumstances of my departure as coach, I wish nothing but the best for the Sweet Home School District, Sweet Home High School, the administration, faculty and staff.

Finally, and most importantly, thank you to all the players, past and present. You’ve given me so many wonderful memories, and I’ll continue to help you any way that I can. I love you all!

There is something incredibly special about this community, something that cannot be replicated elsewhere. I am proud to have grown up here, gone to school here, cut my coaching teeth here, and accepted my first head coaching position here.

Even though I am disappointed, I’m confident that the next chapter in my life will be a success because of the foundation that this community has instilled in me.

While there may not be a Matuszak in the dugout at Husky games next spring, I’ll leave you with this: “Once a Husky, always a Husky!” That is something that will last forever.

Matt “Coach Tooz” Matuszak

Sweet Home