By DAVID GRAVELY
Rumors have spread and names are being thrown around, but it will all become official tomorrow when Pulaski County High School makes the formal introduction of their new head baseball coach at a special press conference.
After the news became public that former coach Doug Dunavant would not be returning, three names were immediately at the top of everyone’s most wanted list. Of those three names, it is now expected that former Cougar baseball and basketball standout and UVA Cavalier Jared King will be officially named to the position at the Wednesday meeting
King played baseball, basketball, and golf for the Cougars, and received several honors for his hard work and style of play. In golf, he was a two-year letter winner. In basketball he was named to the All-River Ridge District first team three times and the All-Region IV team twice. He finished his high school basketball career with 957 points and 492 assists, helping to lead the Cougars to a 19-7 record in 2007 and a 19-9 record in 2008. It is expected that in addition to baseball, King would assist Mark Hanks in the basketball program.
In baseball, King stood out even more. While playing under Dunavant for the Cougars, King played shortstop and pitched while wielding a solid bat throughout his career. As a junior he held a .490 percent batting average with four triples, six doubles, and a .922 percent slugging percentage. His senior year was even better, as he finished with a .507 percent batting average, nine home runs, 35 runs-batted-in, and 16 extra-base hits. He was named to the All-River Ridge District first team three times, and was named to the All-Region IV first team as a junior and senior.
While at UVA, King continued to grow as a baseball player. In 2009 he played first, second, and third base for the Cavaliers while working to earn playing time. After spending the summer playing for the Keene Swamp Bats of the New England Collegiate Baseball League (where he had 10 RBI’s in 25 games), he was forced to sit out the 2010 season to recover from off-season shoulder surgery.
The 2011 season saw King return to the lineup, where he became a mainstay at first base for the Cavaliers. He made 54 appearances and started in 46 games, 42 at first base and four as the designated hitter. He started in 38 of the final 40 games for the Cavs, locking his spot in the lineup for the 2012 season.
The 2012 season found King starting all 59 games at first base, and he had a streak of 81 straight games starting that dated back to the 2011 season. During the season, he earned a program history record 51 walks, tied for 8th in the ACC with five triples, led the team with 13 stolen bases, and recorded 15 multi-hit games and 11 multi-RBI games.
His final season as a Cavalier found him starting in 59 of 62 games at first base. He recorded 21 multi-hit games, the second most on the team. He finished with 202 games played during his career at UVA, which ranks as the 10th most in Virginia history. He earned 123 career walks, the program’s fourth highest ever, and was a part of five UVA teams that combined for 245 total wins, the most in the nation during that stretch of time.
The event is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the high school’s Little Theatre, and all current and prospective players, their parents, and the general public are invited to attend. After the formal introduction by school administration, the new coach will introduce himself and then answer questions from those in attendance.
Be sure to check back in Thursdays edition of The Southwest Times for the full story and photos from the event.