Null to fill void as new Hays head baseball coach

by JASON GORDON

Hays High varsity assistant coach David Null has been tapped to replace Doug Ragsdale as the new Rebel head baseball coach.

Null has previous head baseball coaching experience at Houston Lamar in the late 1990s. After heading to New Mexico to coach both baseball and football during the last decade, he returned to Texas and was hired at Hays in 2009.

“I was very excited when I learned I got the head baseball coaching job,” said Null, who also coaches inside linebackers for the varsity football team. “It’s a great school where academics are stressed and a place you really feel like you have a chance to win.”

Null will take over a program in which Ragsdale was a fixture for 18 years. He guided the Rebs to 16 playoff appearances and nine district titles during that span.

Null likened the transition to the one in which Hays head football coach and athletic coordinator Blake Feldt took over for Bob Shelton, the only head football coach the Rebels had ever known in 40-plus years.

“The transition we made in football was a very smooth one,” Null said. “I’m going to try and use Coach Feldt’s example on how to take over a program that’s used to success. I’ll put in a few of my own philosophies but the key is to keep the Rebel pride and tradition of winning alive. Coach Feldt has been a very good mentor in that respect. When you get a new head coaching job you want to be successful right off the bat – that’s very important to me and to our program.”

Null will enjoy the luxury of having three returning First-Team All-District selections from last spring back with the Rebels next season.

Centerfielder Granger Studdard hit .525 in district action, walked 14 times and scored 18 runs.

Second baseman Alex Robles hit .285 in district and stole 12 bases. His on-base percentage was nearly .500.

Third baseman Dalton Niles hit .420 in district action and had 17 RBIs in 27-4A play, including an 8-RBI game in a comeback win over Canyon at Rebel Field.

“It’s certainly nice to be able to put quality players like that in your lineup that all have a ton of varsity experience,” Null said. “They are all very quality ballplayers.”

Making the second team for the Rebels was then-sophomore pitcher Tyler Woodmansee, who went 6-1 with 42 strikeouts on the season.

Null said his baseball philosophy will be a simple one.

“We’re going to emphasize pitching and defense,” Null said. “I believe if you throw strikes, make the routine plays and don’t strike out at the plate on offense, you’re going to win a lot of games.”

Null added that although a district title is certainly a goal, he wants to build a team ready made for a deep playoff run.

“I think you really break the season into two halves,” Null said. “The non-district schedule you’re building up your team’s confidence with and your pitching staff so they are ready for those tough district games. With teams like Boerne Champion, Kerrville Tivy, Seguin and Lehman in our district, we know it’s not going to be easy. Although we would love to win a district title, we really want to get to the playoffs and go as far as we can once we get there.”

Feldt said he couldn’t be happier with his selection of Null to be at the helm of the Hays baseball program.

“David Null is one of those coaches who demands excellence but also has the respect of his players,” Feldt said. “Sometimes that’s a rare combination to find. I think he’s a perfect fit and the baseball program will continue to thrive under his guidance.”

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