By Ray Hamill — The Humboldt Eagles will have big shoes to fill this summer after 19U head coach Matt Tomlin announced recently he will be stepping down from the local baseball program.
Tomlin, who led his teams to a pair of top-three finishes in the American Legion state tournament, is stepping down because of work and family commitments.
“I need to carve out more family time and more time for work,” said Tomlin, who also coaches the St. Bernard’s football, baseball and girls basketball teams.
“I’m coaching everybody,” he said with a chuckle.
Tomlin has been with the Eagles for three years, coaching the 17U team to a second place finish in state in 2018, and following that with a third-place finish at the 19U level a year later with many of the same players.
There was no state tournament last summer because of COVID, but Tomlin and his players posted a very impressive 35-12 record, mostly on the road against some of the top teams on the West Coast.
“Matt was a huge asset to us developing the program the last few years,” Eagles board member Jim Pastori said.
Tomlin says he enjoyed his time coaching this group of county all-stars and showcasing the level of that talent well beyond the Redwood Curtain.
“We went out and played the absolute best players on the West Coast and we went toe-to-toe with them.” Tomlin said. “I think we really changed the perspective of how people see Humboldt County baseball.”
During his time with the team, two of his players received scholarships to play at PAC-12 schools, with many others going on to play at the collegiate level.
“I really think we have top-notch players here,” Tomlin said, adding that numerous local coaches at the high school level have done a tremendous job developing that talent. “We have so many good coaches here.”
Tomlin also praised the efforts of Pastori and the Eagles board, and his working relationship with them.
“I really enjoyed working for Jim and the Eagles board,” he said, adding that Pastori has done so much for the players. “And the kids. It was so much fun to see them come together.”
Filling his shoes won’t be easy.
“What Matt did was he brought some great organization to these kids, and he surrounded himself with great coaches,” Pastori said. “As far as a game coach, he’s been one of the better games coaches I’ve ever been around.”
The Eagles are in the process of filling the position, with last season’s 17U coach Jeff Mielke a leading candidate.