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Fougerousse taking over reigns of Miner baseballPosted Monday, August 30, 2010, at 8:25 PM
File photo Matt Fougerousse (middle) is shown above taking a victory shower during his days as baseball coach at Shakamak High School.
"The opportunity became available," Fougerousse said, who led the Lakers to the 26-8 record and the state title in 2008, his second of three seasons in charge at Shakamak, "It wasn't something I was seeking out, but the opportunity was there and so I made the decision to try and get the job."
Fougerousse, who resigned after the 2009 season at Shakamak, said taking the job came with the blessings of his family.
"I think anytime you coach and you're out for a certain amount of time you miss it some," he admits. "But that wasn't the only reason.
"Like I said the opportunity was there and after talking it over with my family and talking to some other people, I decided to apply for the job."
While he hasn't had a chance yet to sit down with the returning players for next season's squad, Fougerousse did say he was going to try and start an off-season conditioning program.
He said that conditioning program would likely include weight training, strengthening their throwing arms and working on basic fundamentals.
"I think you always want to try and get stronger in certain areas," he said. "You always want them to be playing catch and getting their arms strong and working with the bats, stuff you can easily do in the offseason."
He says the conditioning, while still a priority for his team when next season rolls around, is helped by the many multi-sport athletes that are prevalent.
"I think they help a lot," Fougerousse said.
Fougerousse believes the team he's inheriting from Berns is a pretty good one. After all,, they did win a sectional title this spring.
"I know they lost three starters," he said. "But that means they have six returning starters. You've got to like the fact they came off of a sectional championship last year and have lots of players returning."
While Fougerousse, whose teams won three sectionals, three regionals and two semistates, won't make any commitments as to what he's got in mind for the next edition of the Miners, he does admit that moving past the sectional title is always on the mind of a coach.
"You always have that in mind," he said. "You're always trying to get to the next level and go farther than the team's gone."
But he offers a caveat by saying things don't happen overnight.
"Of course that takes time," he said. "We'll want to start a tradition and hopefully with hard work and dedication, hopefully we can reach that goal."
Fougerousse, who posted a 63-27 record in three seasons as varsity coach at Shakamak for three seasons, is quick to note however, that Berns left him a pretty solid nucleus of returning players and that the step to the next level isn't going to be a very large one.
"We have a championship from last year," said Fougerousse, who also served 10 seasons as an assistant at his alma mater. "Of course there's things you want to do to try and make the program better."
He also hopes to expand the foundation of the Miner baseball program by becoming involved with players at the lower levels such as junior high.
And while there are currently no immediate plans, Fougerousse, whose wife Jill is the varsity volleyball coach at Linton-Stockton, said the possibility is there when the summer rolls around.
So don't be surprised if you look out on the Miner diamond and see the future starting to grow.
Rick is a sports writer for the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached by telephone at (812) 847-4487 ext. 20. Or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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