The Greenfield Exempted Village Schools Board of Education voted Monday night to approve Kenny Branscom as head coach for the McClain High School varsity baseball program. (HCP Photo/Stephen Forsha)
The Greenfield Exempted Village Schools Board of Education voted Monday night to approve Kenny Branscom as head coach for the McClain High School varsity baseball program. (HCP Photo/Stephen Forsha)
GREENFIELD — McClain Tigers baseball will have a new look for the 2020 season with a new head coach in Kenny Branscom, who confirmed his hire to the position on Monday evening.

The Greenfield Exempted Village Schools Board of Education voted Monday night to approve Branscom as the next varsity coach, as reported by Angela Shepherd for The Highland County Press.

Branscom — a 2004 Chillicothe High School graduate — has credentials to be a first-time head coach for a varsity program, beginning with his coaching career starting as a three-year volunteer assistant at Southeastern High School, followed by a five-year stay as the head coach for Post 62 in the Babe Ruth League in Chillicothe.

Branscom has also coached three All-Star teams, including a state tournament team for them. From there, Branscom has been a JV head coach at Adena High School, where that team finished 21-0, and then he’s spent the last three years as the varsity assistant coach also at Adena.

After Branscom graduated from Chillicothe, he pitched four years for Wilmington College, graduating in ’09 with a degree in sports management administration and a minor in coaching.

Coaching is something that has always interested Branscom, and now with this being a new position for him as the varsity head coach, it is about giving back to the game. He replaces Rich Bunner, who held the Tigers post for the past four seasons.

“I have always said I wanted to be a baseball coach because I wanted to give back to the game that gave so much to me,” Branscom said. “The thing I am looking forward to the most about being the head coach is watching these players grow not only as players, but as individuals and young men.

“The most rewarding thing for me as a coach is after these players are graduated and gone and they come back to me and tell me all the accomplishments in life and how thankful they are that I was such a big impact in their lives. That’s what makes me want to coach the most.”

McClain’s new skipper also has been given lessons of baseball from many individuals, including his father and grandfather and his coach Tom Barr.

“My grandpa and father has always been my inspiration. They have chased me all over Ohio when I was playing ball and even all the way down to Fort Myers, Florida,” Branscom said. “My grandfather has recently passed, but my father still to this day follows me around when I play slow pitch softball and even just to watch me coach.

“I also have to point out that Coach Tom Barr is the one who brought me to Adena. He took me under his wing and continued to push me and tell everyone I was ready to be a head coach, and he couldn’t wait until I got a team of my own one day because he believed I would do great. It is hard not to look up to a man that believes in you that much.”

Being a southeast Ohio native, Branscom knows of McClain baseball and knows they have had past success, with their most recent conference championship coming in 2010 when the Tigers were a member of the now-defunct South Central Ohio League.

“I have seen a lot of good things out of this baseball program in the past,” he said. “I am most interested in getting to know the kids and implementing my style of coaching to help fine-tune the way these players play the game.”

McClain Athletic Director Trevor Arnett spoke highly of Branscom and why he was chosen as the new McClain baseball head coach.

“We're excited about bringing Kenny on board,” Arnett told The Highland County Press. “He has a lot of ideas and is super enthusiastic about the sport. He wants to instill the same energy and pride that he has for the game into our program. I think he will be a great fit to take over a team that will be very young this year and build our program into the future.”

The Tigers finished with an overall record of 11-11 this past spring, with a Frontier Athletic Conference mark of 5-5. MHS played in the sectional finals in ’19, falling to Sheridan. Also this past postseason, MHS defeated Miami Trace.

“The biggest thing I want to see from these players is improvement,” Branscom said. “I want them to be better players and individuals than when they started the year. Together, we will learn how to overcome adversity and build character to help them reach this goal.”

Hustle is also important for the new varsity head coach, as that goes with he aforementioned goal of improvement for the Tigers program.

“I like to see hustle. I want to see every player on this team to play the game the right way, the way it was meant to be played,” Branscom said. “I am constantly learning as a coach. I am a student of the game, and we will add and change our style of play according to our team’s strengths.

“Our early goals are to build a foundation and build from there. As anybody would, I want to win. Winning the FAC championship would be amazing for year number one, but in the end if our team is getting better each and every day, then I would say it’s a successful season.”

Going into his first season at the helm of the Tigers baseball program, Branscom said thanks to those who have helped him along the way.

“I want to thank Greenfield McClain for believing I was the right man for the job. I want to thank my family and friends for all the love and support through all this,” he said. “I want to thank Tom Barr, Chillicothe High School head coach, for pushing me and helping me always take that extra step to get where I am today in my coaching career.”