When Warwick Vets baseball coach Dave Croll stepped down prior to this season after seven years at the helm, the school didn’t have to look very far to find an adequate replacement.
As it turned out, the right man for the job was there already.
Nolan Landy, a teacher at Vets who served as the school’s freshman coach for the past three seasons, was recently given the reins, and he takes over as the first new head coach for the baseball team since 2005.
“I got the call that the job opened up,” Landy said. “As soon as it opened up I applied for it. I was pretty excited to hear that it opened up and just hoped that I got it. It worked out.”
The job is Landy’s first as a head coach at the high school level, but he’s not exactly lacking in experience.
To go with his three years coaching freshmen, he was also an assistant coach with the varsity team at Toll Gate for five seasons prior.
It took eight years in the coaching tree, but he’s finally taking over.
“It was my goal, to get a baseball job,” Landy said. “In Warwick, jobs don’t open up very often. I was in the right place at the right time and was lucky enough to get the job.”
Landy’s baseball pedigree extends well beyond his coaching career, though, as he pitched for current Vets principal and former Pilgrim baseball coach Gerry Habershaw in the mid-90’s as a member of the Pats.
“He’s excited for me, and I was excited,” Landy said of Habershaw. “He wanted to see me get the job. He’s glad because he knows I learned to do things the right way.”
After Landy’s graduation from Pilgrim in 1995, he went on to Central Arizona College, where he played for two seasons.
His teammate in both high school and at Central Arizona was current Major League pitcher Dan Wheeler, who spent last season with the Boston Red Sox.
Wheeler, who is still a close friend of Landy’s, had a few words of encouragement when he found out that Landy got the job at Vets.
“He said, ‘Congratulations and take it easy on them,’” Landy said.
After his time in Arizona, Landy transferred to the University of Cincinnati, where he played with current Red Sox third basemen Kevin Youkilis.
Overall, Landy has quite the baseball background.
Coupled with the experience and knowledge he brings from his time playing, Landy also brings familiarity to the program that another coach most likely wouldn’t have been able to provide. Landy coached the majority of the players on the Vets roster when they were freshmen.
“Baseball is something I love and enjoy doing,” Landy said. “And I know a lot of the kids, because I’ve had them all as freshmen. It was kind of a seamless transition for me, and for the kids it’s a positive thing that they enjoyed it.”
He’s now tasked with trying to rejuvenate a program that has gone 5-31 in Division I play over the last two years after a playoff appearance in 2009.
He’ll have plenty of knowledge and experience to fall back on when trying to figure out how to get it done.
“Basically, it’s just building these guys up to get the fundamentals down and play baseball the right way,” Landy said. “Get back to basics, and make sure we do things the right way on and off the field. I think if we can get that going in the right direction, we’ll be fine.”