Baldwin athletic director focusing on winter sports

BALDWIN — Baldwin athletic director Shawn Williams has had a busy fall season with Panther sports. It’s also looking like a hectic winter season with basketball.

“This year we did something a little different,” Williams said. “The first two days, we held tryouts for both boys and girls teams.”

Kevin Dillard last week was officially appointed by the Baldwin Board of Education as varsity boys coach for the second straight season. Erica Tate is the junior varsity boys coach.

“We had tryouts Monday and Tuesday (Nov. 21 and 22),” Williams said. “We had 29 boys try out. (The focus was on) fundamentals, proper technique, conditioning, positional skill drills, plus a lot of low and high intensity drills to help transitioning from football to basketball.

“We expect big seasons from Da’Ron Copeland, Deondra McDonald and Blake Dockery. We will have a solid team.”

While the boys don’t start until a road game at Pentwater on Dec. 8, the girls tip off Dec. 3 at Traverse City Christian. Doug Bolles is back for his second season as varsity coach. Phyllis Tate is the JV coach.

“We had 14 sign up for JV and varsity tryouts,” Williams said. “We had a review of fundamentals, ball handling drills, conditioning, shooting games and weight training. Makayla George, Kiera Barker, Nicole Mooney and Amani Freeman, should have solid years. We should be competitive and fun to watch.”

Williams said he and the district are facing challenges for future football schedules.

“Our conference disbanded and a lot of schools are going to 8-man football,” he said. “We are going to stay with the traditional 11-man football, which may force us to play bigger schools that we don’t normally play.”

Williams said Baldwin is looking for two more contests to have a nine-game schedule for 2016. Opponents currently on the schedule include Evart, Holton, Ludington, North Adams-Jerome, Onekama, Tawas and White Cloud.

“Every season will be tough and competitive,” Williams said. “Last year, four out of the five losses were to teams that won a playoff game and had a combined record of 30-6. We are looking at area schools, but we are willing to host or travel. We still have two games to fill. I received calls from schools in the U.P., Canada, Wisconsin and Ohio. I’m looking forward to another exciting season next fall.”