Panther Baseball Coach’s CornerRick Hitt
Head Baseball Coach
Rick Hitt has had the great fortune of coaching many talented players and outstanding young men during his 28-year coaching career. In August, Rick Hitt began his 18th year at SFSC and in January launched his 17th SFSC Panthers Baseball team.
“My expectations of the players are simple. Dedicate yourself to being an outstanding young man and representative of SFSC daily. Commit to academic accountability and graduation. Play the greatest game in the world as hard as you can, and play it every day you get the chance,” Hitt said. “The growth that occurs within this process will stay with you as you venture on in life. “
As a pitcher at Santa Fe Community College, Hitt helped the Saints to a third place finish in the 1985 National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) World Series, while playing for Harry Tholen, NJCAA and American Baseball Coach Association, playing for NJCAA and ABCA Hall of Fame coach Harry Tholen. Hitt finished his career playing baseball at St. Thomas University, where he played for current Louisiana State University (LSU) and 2014 ABCA Hall of Fame inductee Paul Mainieri.
“I was blessed to have played for two highly respected coaches and outstanding people during my collegiate career. It is not often on can say they played for two coaches who are hall of famers. I am very grateful for the opportunity they provided me.
Hitt is in his second full term as president of the NJCAA Coaches Association and in his 12th year as a member of the FCSAA State Baseball Committee. Recently, Hitt completed his third year as a member of the prestigious ABCA Board of Directors and serves on the ABCA Executive Committee. At the ABCA national meeting in January, Hitt was appointed to be one of the six members of the ABCA’s Standing Committee.
Hitt and his wife, Jayma, recently celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary. They have two daughters, Sydney, 20, an SFSC graduate, and Cassady, 18, who currently attends SFSC.
When not at the ballpark, Hitt enjoys spending time with his family, the occasional round of golf, and morning walks with the family dog, Willy.
Hitt, his coaches, and his players look forward to the challenges of 2016. “Baseball is a great game, and much of the enjoyment is taking the ride with a great group of people around you. My hope is that our players will embrace that and enjoy the opportunities this season presents.”
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 SFSC, the team won 71 games. He was selected to play in the State All-Star Game in Lakeland during his sophomore year.
Following his SFSC 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 SFSC’s student life coordinator. He holds a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in business administration with a focus on sports management from Webber International University. He resides in Sebring with his wife, Candra.
Volunteer Baseball Assistant Coach
Volunteer Baseball Assistant Coach
Trey Hill begins his first year with the Panthers as a volunteer assistant coach. He is the first base coach and works with the Panther catchers as a position coach.
Coach Hill was a former catcher at Webber International University and earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Florida Gulf Coast University.
Originally from Arcadia, Coach Hill was DeSoto High School’s head baseball coach from 2013 through 2015. Currently, he is a math teacher at Hill-Gustat Middle School in Sebring.