Peninsula High School’s new softball coach is a familiar name. Mike Paul, who has been an assistant for the past two seasons, is taking over as the program’s head coach, replacing Pete Pratz, who recently stepped down after coaching the team the past two years.
Paul’s daughter, Baily, was the star of the team last year. She graduated last spring and is currently playing softball for Seattle University.
But Paul didn’t have any interest in being the head coach until Baily graduated.
“We live in a wonderful community and our community is very tight,” Paul said. “To cause the ability for parents to have concern for play time because of a dad coaching a kid is unfair both to the kid and all the other kids on the team. I’ve been blessed to be in this community for a long time and having a clean slate is way better. I just think it’s better off.”
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Paul, who is a general contractor in Gig Harbor, said taking the job now was a “no-brainer” and hopes to foster a fun environment and continue to encourage participation in the program.
“The most important thing for me is to create an environment where a ton of kids want to be there,” Paul said. “I love what Peninsula is all about. If we’re successful, it’s great. If we take a step back, it’s OK. I want everybody to play. I want to have a great, fun, competitive program.”
Peninsula High School athletic director Ross Filkins said Paul was a natural fit for the position.
“He’s a very well respected person, high character member of our community,” Filkins said. “He’s someone that really wants to build our program from the ground up. He’s been very successful in our business community and his dream is to be a high school coach.
“It’s really important to keep growing the culture of that program, make it a place that kids feel valued and respected and want to be out there. We felt like Mike Paul was an ideal candidate.”
Paul said he’ll look to implement a quick-moving style into the Seahawks’ program, putting the ball into play and being active on the base paths.
“I try to teach as much speed as I can,” Paul said. “Move around, put the ball in play, bunt, hit-and-run. So hopefully, we’ve worked a lot on our conditioning in the winter, trying to create something that gets these kids excited to be there. I want us to be moving as much as possible. If you can move the ball and run, you can create chaos. Hopefully have some success with that.”
Having an active approach on the base-paths should also create pinch-running opportunities, allowing everyone on the team to get meaningful playing time.
“Hopefully all the snow has passed and we get to be outside,” Paul said. “We just want to be outside, take a deep breath, start smiling and working hard.”