Vaughan flying away with Blue Jays|Pam Pack baseball coach/AD to become MLB scout

Published 8:55 am Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Sports Editor

Darin Vaughan is circling third base and heading for home.
The Washington Pam Pack baseball coach, named the 2009 WDN Baseball Coach of the Year, and athletic director will be leaving his positions this month. Vaughan will become a scout for the Toronto Blue Jays, a job that is, well, a home run for the baseball genius.
“I’m extremely excited about the opportunity to get into professional baseball,” Vaughan said. “Obviously, it’s been a goal of mine. Anybody that’s involved with it wants to do it at the highest level.
“While I won’t be directly involved with coaching, I’m still going to be involved with Major League Baseball.”
Vaughan, who will be an area scout, will be responsible for finding talent in Oklahoma, Missouri and Arkansas, along with Amarillo, Texas. He’ll be based in Tulsa, Okla.
“I’ll be responsible for all amateurs, meaning high schools and the collegiate level, in that area,” Vaughan said. “I’ll write reports on every draft-eligible player with what my opinions are of them, as will each scout across the country.
“During the draft in June, we’ll all meet and go over them.”
Russell Holloman, principal at Washington High School, said the search to find Vaughan’s replacement has already started.
Casey Corey, an assistant principal, will be the acting athletic director until a replacement is hired. Corey is plenty familiar with Washington and athletics. A native of Washington, Corey wore No. 64 and played for the Pam Pack football team from 1993-97, playing under Greg Thomas and Brian Paschal.
Corey, who played college football at North Carolina Central University, was head football coach at South Lenoir for three years.
Holloman said that Washington is in good hands with Corey, and the school’s priority is finding a baseball coach/teacher first.
“Currently, Mr. Corey is our acting athletic director,” Holloman said. “He is taking on all those responsibilities. He understands what’s expected of him.
“Finding a head baseball coach and teacher are the top priorities right now. We’ll take our time with the athletic director search and hire the right person for the job.”
Holloman, who said he hopes to have a baseball coach in place by Jan. 22, which is the start of the second semester, said the school has already received plenty of interest about the position.
“We’ve received a lot of applicants,” Holloman said. “We’re now trying to find the right fit.”
Holloman said he was appreciative of the job Vaughan did.
“As a baseball coach, he did an outstanding job,” Holloman said. “He brought the program to a higher level in a tough conference. There will be a lot of good players who will miss him next year, but he gave them all the right tools to be successful again next season.
“As an athletic director, he has been professional and has done a phenomenal job in treating everybody fairly. He never played favorites. He did a great job with the athletic council and the community. We’ll miss having him in the Pam Pack family.”
The opportunity to get involved with the Blue Jays came about through some close friends. An unexpected phone call led to an interview and, shortly thereafter, a job offer.
“It just fell into place really quickly, a lot quicker than I ever imagined it would,” Vaughan said. “I was not prepared to leave or move or anything like that.
“I would really like to thank all the people that supported me over the last three years. Whoever takes this job is lucky to work with some great people.”
Vaughan will pretty much hit the ground running once he begins his new job.
“I’m basically six months behind every other scout in the area,” Vaughan said. “That leads to some nervous thoughts. I have a lot of catching up to do.
“In January, my biggest job will be to contact all of the high-profile guys in the area. I’ll try to get in touch with them and get in touch with their coaches. Part of my responsibility will be to get to know those kids as well as possible.”
Vaughan has been involved with baseball throughout his professional career. He started his coaching career at Coffeyville Community College, where he was an assistant from 1995-97. He also coached at Hutchinson Community College and Kansas State.
Vaughan had his first taste of professional baseball life as an associate scout for the Chicago White Sox from 2000-02. He was head coach of the New Bern River Rats before taking the job at Washington.
Vaughan enjoyed his most successful season last year, leading the Pack to a 12-11 overall record and a fourth-place finish in the always-tough Coastal Conference. He guided Washington to a 2-1 win over Hertford County in the first round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 3-A state playoffs, the Pack’s first playoff win since 1998.
He was tabbed the 2009 WDN Baseball Coach of the Year and the 2009 Coastal Conference Baseball Coach of the Year.
Vaughan grew close with his players and his assistants, Doc Austin, Joey Duke and Travis Rogerson, over the past three years. That bond made leaving the Pack tough on the coach.
“It was a lot more difficult to leave than I thought it was going to be,” Vaughan said. “It was great to be around those guys, and great to watch all those players grow and have success.
“I care a lot about all of those kids. They deserve to continue to grow. Whoever gets hired is going to get to work with a great bunch of kids.”