Sparta’s Knoll lands head baseball job at WTC
It’s always been a dream of Josh Knoll’s to coach baseball, so landing his first coaching job at his alma mater at the age of 25 has got to be the icing on the cake.
Knoll, a 2009 graduate of Sparta High School, was selected as Western Technical College head baseball coach earlier this summer.
He’s elated about the chance to coach for WTC after playing two seasons for the Cavaliers in 2011-12.
“It’s always been a dream,” offered Knoll of the chance to head up his own baseball team.
“I honestly didn’t think it would happen until later down the road,” he continued. “To be given the chance at 25 is really an honor, and it’s a rarity these days.”
You could say Knoll, who earned all-Mississippi Valley Conference second team honors as a senior in 2009, was born to coach.
His grandfather, Floyd “Boots” Knoll, is legendary in these parts.
He coached city league baseball for many years and remains a fixture at the diamond when his grandson is playing for the Sparta Miller team.
To top it off, Knoll’s father, Paul, has been an assistant manager for the Sparta Miller baseball team for more than a decade.
Josh’s relationship with both his grandfather and his father are the foundations of his dream to someday coach.
“I think it goes back to when I was young and I would see all the trophies in my grandfather’s garage,” recalled Knoll. “He managed the city league team in Sparta back in the 1960s. Grandpa’s success has driven me.”
Knoll has been working at his new job for a month now, and his focus has been recruiting new players to a Cavalier team that suffered from low numbers in recent years.
WTC finished last season with just a dozen players on its roster and Knoll knows he needs to bring more players in if the Cavs are going to better the team’s five-win season of a year ago.
“I’ve been recruiting non-stop. I’m trying to quadruple the numbers from last year,” he said.
“Overall, my goal is to just make better individuals. I want to make (my players) better men, better people,” Knoll continued. “I want, not only to prepare these kids for baseball, but for the real world.”
Since he took over the baseball program at WTC, Knoll has been on recruiting trips to Canada and Puerto Rico.
He said he has four or five players from Puerto Rico interested in playing for the Cavs, as well as several area players, including some from Brookwood, Bangor and Cashton, who also are looking at the program.
Knoll is excited about the future of WTC baseball and he believes he can offer a unique perspective as a former member of the Cavs.
“I’ve been in my player’s shoes and I have an idea of how to be successful at WTC,” he said. “There’s nothing here that’s out of the ordinary for me.”