Panther Baseball Coaches Corner
Rick Hitt began his 16 year at SFSC in August, and will usher in his 15th team in January as the 2014 Baseball Season gets underway. Hitt who is in his 26th year of coaching has had the great fortune of coaching many talented players and outstanding young men. “I think you last in coaching for a variety of reasons, but one of them must be that you still enjoy the opportunity to work with quality young men. That holds true for me as each day provides a new opportunity.”
Hitt and his wife Jayma recently celebrated their 23rd wedding anniversary together. They have two daughter’s current SFSC student Sydney, 18, and Cassady, 16.
As a pitcher at Santa Fe Community College, Hitt helped the Saints to a third place finish in the 1985 NJCAA World Series playing for NJCAA and ABCA Hall of Fame coach Harry Tholen. Hitt completed his baseball playing career at St. Thomas University where he played for current LSU and 2014 ABCA Hall of Fame inductee Paul Maineri. “I was blessed to have played for two highly respected coaches and outstanding people during my collegiate career. It is not often one can say they played for two coaches who are Hall of Famers. I am very grateful for the opportunity they provided me.”
Hitt is currently in his first full term as the NJCAA Coaches Association President, his first year as the FCSAA Council for Athletic Affairs Chairperson, and in his 10 year as a member of the FCSAA State Baseball committee and Conference Baseball Chairperson.
When not at the ballpark, Hitt enjoys spending most of his time at home with the family, spending time with his mother and father (Richard and Ruth ) who recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, the occasional round of golf or a run with the family dog Willy.
Never one to make predictions, Hitt holds true to one approach: “no predictions, just one guarantee, that we will work as hard as we can to help prepare our players to represent our institution at a high level on and off the field daily.”
Coach Andy Polk begins his seventh year as an assistant coach at South Florida State College. He assists in all aspects of the program but primarily works with the pitching staff. As a former Panther player, he helped lead the team to the 2004 Regional Tournament. That team won a school record 38 games, and in his two years at SFCC, the team won 71 games. He was selected to play in the State All-Star Game in Lakeland during his sophomore year.
Following his SFCC career, Polk moved on to Division II Florida Southern College, where he helped the Moccasins to the Regional Tournament in 2006. He then transferred to NAIA Webber International University, where he finished his playing career and degree. Following his college career, he signed a professional contract with the Charlotte County Redfish of the South Coast League. He finished his professional career as a 2008 Frontier League All Star for the Chillicothe Paints. Coach Polk is SFCC’s student life coordinator and just finished his master’s degree in sports management at Webber International University. He resides in Sebring with his wife, Candra.