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BY JEFF FALK

But sometimes a man’s got to do what a man’s got to do.

Josh Brown is a baseball guy, through and through. He’s also a people person who follows through on a belief that impacting kids is important.

Recently, Brown tendered his resignation as Cedar Crest’s head baseball coach. It was a difficult decison for Brown, but one he felt like he had to make.

“It took me about a month of thinking and talking to people – other coaches, my family, friends,” said Brown. “I love to coach baseball. I love kids. I love everything about it. I want to be involved. It’s one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make. But it was a decision based on my business and my family, and it was a decision that had to be made.

“My business (Grassroots Lawn Service) has exploded,” continued Brown. “I’ve had to take on more responsibility, and the spring and the fall are the busiest times of the year. I’ve been thinking about it for about the last year-and-a-half. The trouble is when we get washed out, it washes out the baseball and the business. We’ve gained about 150 customers.”

Brown took over the program in 2015 from Ryan White, and during his tenure guided the Falcons to moderate success, invoking memories of a time when Cedar Crest was a powerhouse in the sport. In 2018, the Falcons captured the Lancaster-Lebanon Section One championship.

“There are so many things I’m proud of,” said Brown. “But if there was one thing it was just seeing these kids develop into adults, and then keeping in touch with them after they moved on. Just watching that transition.

“I will miss it for sure,” Brown continued. “I’ll miss everyone. But mostly, I’ll miss the kids and their development. Every little thing you do impacts them for the rest of their lives. But I’ll still be around. I’m still going to have that impact.”

 Brown’s departure comes under less than ideal circumstances. Cedar Crest has its recent spring campaign short-circuited by the Coronavirus, and there was a feeling circulating around South Lebanon that the Falcons genuinely missed out on a chance at something special.

Four of this year’s eight Falcon seniors are going on to play college baseball at either the Division Two or Three level.

“It was really difficult,” said Brown. “I’m really close to my seniors. We had one scrimmage game, and then it ended. At the time, we didn’t think it was going to be the end of the season.

“I think the program is, absolutely in better shape than when I took it over,” Brown added. “It runs very smoothly now. But it’s not just me, it’s also my assistant coaches. As far as the athletes go, I thought this year was going to be our best year. And I think next year, they’re going to be pretty decent.”

The Falcons had struggled through a 5-15 campaign before Brown took over in 2015. But with a personality stressing accountability, he injected life into the program.

A resident of the Cornwall-Lebanon school district and a 1997 graduate of Lebanon High School, Brown also coached baseball at Lock Haven University, Lebanon Valley College and for the Cedars.

“I saw that the job was open,” said Brown. “It was some of the same decision-making that went on now. My daughters were older and I had more flexibility. Ryan (White) dropped down to be the head JV coach. It was something I always wanted to do. I wanted to run my own program. I plannd on staying around a bit longer. But who knows what the future holds.

“The game of baseball is like no other,” added Brown. “It’s something I’ve enjoyed all of my life. I’ll miss the game and coaching in the game. I’m hoping I’ll be back.”

Because he’s emotionally invested in and committed to the Falcons’ program, Brown intends to make the transition to his successor as smooth as possible. He intends to see his work through until another head coach is hired.

“You’re right, it’s hard to get good coaches,” said Brown. “Most good coaches want to coach. We need more good coaches. That was the hardest part, walking away, because I care about the kids so much. But ultimately, I know I made the right decision, for my business and my family.

“I plan to do some more summer stuff, and hopefully in the fall, depending on how this COVID-19 thing goes,” concluded Brown. “I told the kids that I’m not just going to stop coaching. I won’t stop with any of that stuff until another coach steps in. I’m not just going to drop it. I’d like to have an impact on a program I put together over the last five years. I know that there are a couple of people interested (in the opening).”

To purchase images in this article, email jkfalk2005@yahoo.com.

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