For the first time since 2007, baseball coaches Seth Knight and Eric Grubb are parting ways.
Grubb has been named the head baseball coach at Western Hills after Knight resigned in mid-July, Western Hills Athletic Director Craig Fry announced Monday morning.
“I’m very excited about the opportunity,” Grubb said. “I have been with the program the last four years, so I’ve watched it come a long way. Hopefully we can take it to another level. It has established itself as a program already and hopefully we can take a few more steps forward.”
Grubb, who began his path with now-Franklin County head coach Kevin Goins and the Lexington Hitmen in 2002, later joined Knight at Paul Laurence Dunbar in 2007.
Knight, who has served as head coach of Western Hills for the past four years, began his coaching career as an assistant at Dunbar in 2003. Together the pair helped coach the Bulldogs to a state championship in 2007.
Under Grubb’s direction, the Dunbar pitching staff finished the season with the lowest ERA in school history, at 1.2 runs per game.
The coaches left Dunbar for Lexington Catholic in 2009 — Knight as an assistant and Grubb as the pitching coach — where they earned another state title.
In 2010, Knight took over as head coach of the Wolverines and Grubb followed him as an assistant coach. When Knight found his dream job was open as head coach at Dunbar, he left Grubb to fulfill a dream position as well — this time on his own.
“I didn’t want to leave this program with unfinished business,” Grubb said. “It has established itself as an off season program and during the season, obviously, we’ve made improvements to the facilities and the field. I’ve got a lot of time invested in there and a lot of time invested in the senior group that’s in there right now. I didn’t want to leave them alone. I wanted to stick around for them and want to stick around for the future.”
During the last four years, the Wolverines posted a 63-55 record. In 2010, Western Hills experienced its first 20-win season and won the first of two back-to-back 41st District tournament championships.
“It’s going to be an adjustment period without Seth,” Grubb said. “It’ll take some time to get used to. Coming in to this year as a head coach, I want to bring along ‘Bubba’ or Kevin Martin as my assistant, who has been coaching at Western Hills too. Hopefully with him along my side, it will be a smooth transition.”
Martin, who is a 2004 Franklin County graduate, has served as the head junior varsity coach and a varsity assistant for five years.
WHHS finished last season 11-16 after losing 7-0 to Franklin County in the first round of the district tournament. The Wolverines graduated just two seniors in Christian Kinder and Chase Conner.
“Last year’s group, we started three or four young kids who got experience as eighth graders and freshmen,” Grubb said. “They cut their teeth a little bit and had some bumps in the road. Hopefully they’ll take it as a growing experience and get better.”
Grubb said the Wolverines have a strong group of returning upperclassmen including seniors Kyle Fisher, Kyle Stevens, Seth Roush, Zack Barker, Petey Gall, Willie Walker and Jacob Wright.
“We only lost two seniors off of last year’s team so we are not going to have to replace a whole lot as far as quantity,” Grubb said. “Obviously, those two kids were valuable pieces. We have a bunch of young kids coming into the program who have tremendous talent.
“Now it is just a process of getting them on the field and letting them learn, make the mistakes, learn from them and improve on them.”
Grubb graduated from Lexington Catholic in 1997. He played four years of college baseball before graduating from Campbellsville in 2003.
He and his wife, Samantha, have two boys, Logan, 7, and Taylor, 4.
Grubb is employed at E-Z Dispensers in Lexington, a business owned by his father, Eddie.