New Clay baseball coach Garry Isbell apparently didn't get the memo that you're not supposed to directly follow in the footsteps of a highly successful coach.
Isbell, 31, a former three-sport standout at Lake High School (Class of '96), this season replaces Karl Knierim at the Eagles' head coach.
All Knierim did in his 13 seasons was lead Clay to a 235-105 record, including a 17-8 mark last season and the City League championship. Clay also won the CL title in 2007 and advanced to the regional tournament in 1997, 2006 and 2007.
The Eagles also won three Great Lakes League titles under Knierim, 51, who cited being "a little burned out" for his resignation in early December.
"Karl was on his way to the High School Baseball Coaches' Hall of Fame," said Isbell, who was named Knierim's successor on Feb. 18. "It's not an easy task, following a successful man like him. The nice thing is I have him on my side, and that's definitely going to help me."
Knierim stayed on board to serve as Isbell's varsity assistant. Isbell has been involved with the Eagles' baseball program for nine years, including six as Knierim's varsity assistant.
"Karl has been my mentor since I came into the program," Isbell said. "He taught me how to handle yourself as a head coach, how to work with the kids, create a rapport with the kids and work with the parents and the community. All of those are essential ingredients to have a successful program."