NEW COACHES

New faces on the sidelines this fall

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There are a number of new head coaches on the sidelines this fall in Montgomery County.

Dane Baldwin is the new boys’ tennis coach at North Montgomery, Erin Barry and Casey Phillips will coach Southmont volleyball, and Alex Ehrlich has moved from assistant to head coach of Crawfordsville girls’ soccer.

Former Athenian takes over Charger tennis

Dane Baldwin enjoyed a long string of success during his high school playing days at Crawfordsville.

And now the former Athenian, who graduated from Crawfordsville in 2017 before playing at IU Southeast, is North Montgomery’s new boys’ tennis coach.

“I think my college playing experience will allow me to share a lot of strategy with the guys,” Baldwin said. “In high school I only played singles, but in college I was able to play both. I gained a lot of knowledge from Coach Joe Epkey at IU Southeast and I am looking to share that knowledge with the players.”

Baldwin started his coaching career as an assistant last fall at Fountain Central — helping the Mustangs to a fourth-straight sectional title. Baldwin worked under longtime Fountain Central coaches Chris Webb and Dave Kight.

“Coach Webb and Coach Kight over at FC were great to me, allowing me to come and help out with the FC team last year,” Baldwin added. “Watching them coach definitely has helped me get into my head coaching role more smoothly.”

Baldwin is looking forward to the chance at helping improve a North Montgomery program that has struggled the last couple of seasons.

“I am really excited about helping the guys get better at tennis and just having a great group of guys to have some fun while at the same time being competitive,” he said. “As a coach I think overall I bring a lot of my own experience that I can share with the team.”  

Barry, Phillips bring experience to Mountie program

Southmont didn’t have to look far for a new volleyball coach when former Mountie coach Lauran Nichols resigned last spring.

Erin Barry and Casey Phillips, who have been longtime assistants at Southmont are now patrolling the sidelines together as co-head coaches this fall.

“We are excited to grow together as a team, bond out there on the court, and honestly just to play,” they said. “Let’s get this season started.”

Phillips has 11 years experience of coaching at the junior high, club and high school levels, while Barry has been coaching for 14 years all at the high school level.

Their style of coaching will mostly remain the same as Nichols’, as the Mounties, who won the sectional in 2019, hope to continue their recent success this season.

“Our coaching is very similar to Lauran’s,” they said. “They know we expect them to work hard, do their best and never give up. The upperclassmen still remember that sectional winning season and being in the championship of the regional. The feeling they had that year will help push them to be better every day.”

Ehrlich assumes role as head coach for Athenian girls’ soccer

Alex Ehrlich has moved from varsity assistant to head coach for Crawfordsville girls’ soccer.

The 2012 Crawfordsville graduate is excited about leading a program that was winless in 2020.

“Last year it felt like I was in the passenger seat trying my best to navigate us to some success,” he said. “Now that I have both hands on the wheel I feel as though I can put us in the right direction. It also helps having a co-pilot like Jordan Nelson who knows the roads like the back of his hand. As the assistant coach I had to be reactive. Whenever there was a loss, I was right there to pick up the pieces. Now I have the ability to be proactive to shift the culture into something positive, productive and intentional. I am also thrilled about building further on the relationships that I have with the team.”

Ehrlich enters his fifth year as a girls soccer coach. He has spent time as a middle school assistant and head coach, before moving into a varsity assistant role last year.

His first senior class as a head coach were in eighth-grade the first year he coached.

Ehrlich has every intention of mixing things up on the pitch for the Athenians this fall and bringing a whole new regimen of expectations. 

“Different coaching methodology for one,” he said. “I told the girls on day one that I will be very intentional about everything we do and I expect them to adopt the same purpose. We are not out here to kick a ball around, we are here to be intentional with every touch, every pass, every shot, every run and also every conversation with a teammate or a coach.”  

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