PORT NECHES —
PORT NECHES -- Jay Stone will still be looking onto Port Neches-Groves' baseball field from the third base foul line, but not like he has done over the last 13 years as the Indians head coach. Stone chose to step down so he could just be a dad to his son Austin, who just finished an outstanding junior season as the Indians shortstop and No. 2 pitcher.
With Stone's decision, and pending a decision from the school board, Mark Brevell will take the reigns as the Indians' head baseball coach. PN-G athletic director Brandon Faircloth said Wednesday that Brevell, Stone's assistant since 2007, accepted the job offer made to him on Tuesday.
Faircloth said they are waiting on the school board to make it official but inferred that he had no reason to believe the school board would not approve.
Brevell spent five years as head coach of the Lumberton Raiders (2001-2005) before joining Stone at the Reservation. Brevell said in a phone interview from the state tournament in Austin on Wednesday that he has been privileged to work with Stone over the last four years. He added that Stone was one of the best coaches in the state.
Without anything being official, however, Brevell would only say he is honored to even be considered as Stone's possible successor. Stone accumulated 436 career wins in 20 seasons as a head coach at Orangefield, Nederland and PN-G. He took the Bulldogs to state twice in the mid 90s and guided the Indians to Austin in 2000 and 2004. In his 20 years as a manager, he missed the playoffs just once.
He began thinking about resigning as the baseball season began this past Spring. He did not make that decision official until the days following his team's 9-8 loss to Friendswood in the regional semifinals on May 29th. The Tribe went 25-12 for the 2010 campaign.
"I decided I was ready to just be a dad for awhile. I wanted to watch from the other side of the fence," explained Stone, who said he will spectate from the back of his truck, which will be parked on the third base side of the field.
"I know a lot of dads would like the opportunity to coach their son's like I have, but I just want to watch Austin as a fan. I want to watch just as a dad and not a coach."
Stone said coaching his son was a joy. He said Austin was a model student of the game and always dedicated to getting better. The hard-throwing righty was an enormous part of the Indians success in the playoffs. Along with earning four pitching victories, he had a base-clearing triple that lifted the Tribe to an important 8-5 victory against Magnolia in the regional quarterfinals. He smacked a grand slam in their playoff finale.
Stone also said he was pleased to leave the program in the hands of Brevell, who helped Lumberton to a district title in 2001. It was the school's first district championship. They went three rounds deep in the playoffs that season and advanced to the Class 4A regional semifinals in 2002.
In his time at Lumberton, Brevell also tutored Boston Red Sox pitching standout Clay Buchholz.
Brevell said he felt honored to be Stone's personal choice as the program's future caretaker.
Faircloth said Stone would be missed but is confident Brevell is the right man to take over.
"Coach Stone is one of the top coaches in the state. It's hard to see him step down but we understand his decision. It's important to him to just be a parent," said Faircloth. "Now it's our duty to make sure we continue in the direction coach Stone has kept the program going in since he has been here. I think coach Brevell is going to do a great job."