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  • Writer's pictureMary McQueen

A New Era for BHS Baseball

Baseball memories have led Coach (John) Whitehead down the path to Head Coach for the BHS Baseball program. Starting with T-ball at age 4, and watching his Dad coach baseball throughout his youth growing up in Jackson, Tennessee, baseball has been a central theme in his life. Coach Whitehead was a multi-sport athlete all through high school, playing basketball, football, and Track & Field in addition to baseball. He remains a big proponent of athletes staying healthy and well-rounded by playing multiple sports throughout the year. Coach Whitehead ultimately ended up playing baseball at Jackson State Community College- a program that reached top-ten in the nation during his tenure- and then transferring to Covenant College, a D3 school in North Georgia that sent several of his teammates to the MLB.

As fate would have it, Coach Whitehead suffered a career-ending injury during his senior year at Covenant College. Rather than dwell on that misfortune, he let it lead him down another path inside the baseball world, working for the Jackson Generals AA baseball program where he handled marketing, sales, and player promotion for two years. It was at this point that Coach Whitehead knew he wanted to be a coach, so he started off on his so-far 13 year coaching career.

After 6 years in head coaching positions in Tennessee high schools, Coach Whitehead and his wife, Becky, moved to Colorado, spending the next 6 years coaching in Arvada and Golden- the most recent 4 yrs at Arvada West as Pitching Coordinator and Assistant Head Coach. Ready for a change and feeling a connection to Boulder, which reminds him so much of his hometown of Jackson in size and community feeling, Coach Whitehead accepted the PE teaching position and subsequently the Head Baseball Coaching position at BHS. Inspired by BHS Baseball’s rich history- back to 2 state titles in the 1990’s- Coach Whitehead sees a real opportunity to build on the “winning culture” established here.

In his first year, the ‘21-’22 school year, Coach Whitehead was impressed and pleased by how welcome and accepted he felt by the senior athletes- something that is not a given when players have been playing for other head coaches throughout high school. The players trusted his process right away, starting with off-season strength training as a program of injury prevention- which he can now say was successful, after a season with no major injuries.

Coach Whitehead ushered in an increase in overall team numbers- from 35 last season to 41 this season, a promising sign for the BHS baseball program. This season was an overall success- BHS was not favored within the division or even within BVSD, but ended up beating all the other BVSD teams including Broomfield High- the team who ended up winning the state title for the division. BHS even came one win away from making it to the state tournament. In the end, BHS placed 6th out of 12 in the division, far exceeding expectations, and Coach Whitehead points out that “technically, we were the county and BVSD champs” with a proud grin.

One of the ‘21-’22 season highlights was beating Fairview “handily”- especially for the seniors who had not fared well against Fairview the last several years. Coach Whitehead gave shout-outs to Derek Woolwine (BHS ‘22) for his performance which was key in the Broomfield win, and to Adrian Armstrong (BHS ‘22) for his leadership on and off the field throughout the season. Coach Whitehead is optimistic and excited for next season, citing an impressive performance by Danny Balderez (BHS ‘23) who played a complete game against Monarch this past season, and the overall achievement of David Kimberly (BHS ‘23) who really helped solidify the pitching rotation as a starting pitcher.

As for how Coach Whitehead keeps his passion for coaching and for the game of baseball, he says he can’t do it without his family. Becky, his wife of 10 yrs, is “so supportive, managing the home team” especially during the craziness of the season. “Assistant Coach” Garrett (Possibly BHS ‘37), particularly enjoys helping Coach Whitehead with his duties- and the athletes love it when he comes around.

Coach Whitehead also points to those baseball memories and bonds established so long ago as integral to his love for coaching. A testament to his lifelong connection to baseball, he remains in contact with many of the players his Dad coached decades ago.

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