This program at High Point University will pay huge dividends in the future. Imagine the possibilities that could be done at UNC Charlotte, and not just in athletics, if the uninformed had any clue.
[QUOTE][B]Panther baseball brand expands[/B]
[I]By Tom Berry, High Point Enterprise
July 16, 2009[/I]
The branding of High Point University baseball continues.
No cattle prod needed.
Panthers Baseball Club already refers to more than just the HPU team, and that number will increase by four this fall.
In an effort to increase awareness of the university and its baseball program, the team has taken over one local youth travel squad formerly called the Carolina Angels. And more will be added as HPU coach Craig Cozart attempts to give his program a higher profile within the community and maybe help recruiting in a few years.
“The first thing is we’re working to continue the branding of Panther baseball,” said Cozart, who has completed one season at High Point. “It’s a good community outreach and the teams will have an impact on young age groups.”
Daniel Latham, a volunteer assistant at HPU, will be the “general manager” of Panthers Baseball Club, according to Cozart. Latham started that role with the team formerly known as the Angels, a 14-and-under unit that has experienced plenty of success.
PBC won the Triple Crown N.C. State Tournament in late May, defeating Proehlific Power in the championship game held in Morganton. The team will compete in a national tournament later this month.
Players will be wearing the purple and black of High Point U. The school does not fund the youth travel team in any way, said Cozart. That comes from the parents of the athletes, but HPU will be get exposure with the team’s name and uniforms.
“The association with High Point University will be there,” Cozart said. “Basically, it’s a good recruiting tool.”
Cozart discovered as much while a long-time assistant at Central Florida through the 2008 season. With current High Point assistant Rich Wallace serving as the general manager, Knights Baseball Club grew to seven youth teams in all age groups.
By the time Cozart and Wallace headed to High Point last summer, Knights Baseball Club had produced “four of five athletes” who were playing for Central Florida or committed to the school, Cozart said.
“We were just starting to see results,” he noted. “We had build the teams up over three or four years. We had teams from 18-and-under and all the way down.”
Cozart had the idea for such a program after becoming head coach at High Point. He began moving toward that goal during a discussion with Bill Wilson, a former HPU player under Jim Speight (1987-90) who had a son playing for the Carolina Angels.
“Craig shared his vision with me and his desire to see it succeed,” Wilson recalled. “It’s a great way for the school to get involved with the community and work with kids.”
The Angels became the first Panthers Baseball Club, if you don’t count the college team. Tryouts will be held this fall for more teams. Like the former Angels, virtually all of the players will come from the Triad Area. And they will play in various USSA, AAU and Triple Crown events.
Cozart, who directed HPU’s Panthers to a 21-31 overall record in 2009, hopes the young players will feel an attachment to the college team and come see games at Williard Stadium. While Latham will be the point man for the organization, Cozart and his other assistants plan to spend time with the youngsters.
"A kid will be watching us play and say, "There goes coach Cozart. I know him,’ " Cozart related. “They will feel a close association to our team.”
It’s another way to grow the HPU brand.[/QUOTE]