After leading the varsity baseball team at Paso Robles High School for 20 seasons, Derek Stroud is stepping down.
“It was just time,” Stroud told The Tribune on Tuesday. “I kind of knew that in my mind before the year started.”
Stroud, a member of the Paso Robles High Athletics Hall of Fame, started out coaching junior varsity basketball at the school in 1992. Back then, he was still a pitcher playing minor league baseball after being selected by the Chicago Cubs in the 22nd round of the 1987 MLB Draft.
In 1998, he took over as head baseball coach for Tim Alvord, who led the team for 17 seasons. In his first season, Stroud led the Bearcats to a league championship and a playoff win, two things that hadn’t been done in nine years.
By Stroud’s side during that first season — and every season since — was his brother Dewey Stroud.
“He was such an important part of the team,” Derek Stroud said of Dewey, who was the third-base coach and worked with the catchers. “We played on a really nice field, and it was because he spent countless hours mowing and taking care of it.”
In 2017, Paso Robles had one of its best seasons in school history when the team advanced to the semifinals of the CIF-Southern Section Division 3 playoffs, its deepest postseason run since 1978, Stroud said.
Stroud’s final season in 2018 was also the last for his son, Will Stroud, who will join the baseball team at Azusa Pacific this fall.
“I don’t think a lot about that now, but it really was a great opportunity,” Stroud said of coaching his son. “He grew up in the program. I can’t wait to watch him play in college.”
Soon Stroud will also have more time to watch his daughter, Becca Stroud, a standout on the Paso Robles softball team.
Stroud said he plans to continue teaching social studies and economics. This fall will mark his 22nd year as a teacher, but he will miss his old job.
“There were just so many great players and assistant coaches, not just talent-wise but good people,” Stroud said. “Whoever gets that ball club will get to work with a really talented group.”
The job is expected to be posted early next week.