The Brighton High School baseball program reached new heights the last three seasons under head coach Ryan Wood.
Brighton made the state tournament for the first time in 2021. Last year, the Cardinals won another district title, won the region for the first time and finished a win away from the Class 3A state title game.
Wood stepped down from his position to become an assistant principal at Crestview Elementary School. Now, his former assistant, Kevin Heath, who was hired two weeks ago as the head coach, will be tasked with continuing Brighton’s unprecedented success.
“They should build a statue for this guy,” Heath said. “These are big shoes to fill. He’s a great coach and a better person.”
Heath was Wood’s assistant during Wood’s five-year stint as Brighton’s head coach. Heath’s main job was as the team’s pitching coach of a staff that was very successful. Wood believes Heath, 45, is the perfect fit to take over as head coach.
“I think he’ll be an excellent coach,” Wood said. “He’s got a great relationship with the players because he’s coached them in JV as well as freshmen and sophomores. I think he’ll seamlessly continue the success Brighton has seen the past five years because he’s been a major part of our success since I took over as head coach. I’ll be pulling for him every step of the way.”
Several of the key players from last year’s team will be graduating. Andrew Davis, Luke Perkins, Tanner Reed and Ben Lavelle are just a few of the impactful players who will be moving on. However, there’s talent coming back, including M.J. Parimore, an all-state pitcher, and pitcher Cade Crowson.
Heath doesn’t plan on changing a whole lot.
“Our whole infield is graduating, but we’ve got some guys to fill those shoes,” Heath said. “Baseball-wise, I’m not going to change anything. Our goal, obviously, is to get back to Murfreesboro, and I think we have a realistic chance to do that … My goal is to keep his (Wood’s) legacy going.”