Star-Bulletin Sports

Sunday, August 19, 2001



Sorge pushes all
the right buttons

By Al Chase

Josh Sorge's athletic experiences run the gamut from the last man on a roster to a coach with a No. 1 team.

In between, he has learned and developed his coaching philosophy in preparation of helping the University of Hawaii baseball program achieve success.

When Sorge graduated from Ohio University five years ago, he never dreamed his first paying job as a college baseball coach would be with the Rainbows following a two-year stint as the volunteer coach at Georgia Tech.

Tech was ranked No. 1 during the 1999 season and began the 2000 season in that lofty position.

He demonstrated his sense of humor at the onset of an interview by saying, "I'm sure it won't be long before I'll be known as the bald baseball coach."

Sorge concentrated on baseball at St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland after realizing being a gym rat wasn't good enough to get playing time on the basketball team.

"St. Ignatius is a boys school. We had 1,200 boys and that provided quite a talent pool. The only time I got into a basketball game, the result wasn't in question," Sorge said.

There was no fall baseball, so Sorge, a second baseman, ran and lifted weights during the off-season with the blessing of his father, head baseball coach at Cuyahoga Community College.

He went to Ohio University as a non-scholarship player. He was 5 feet 10 inches, about 160 pounds, and didn't have the quick feet to play middle infield in college. But he could hit and throw.

"My coach (Joe Carbone) and my dad wouldn't admit it, but I think Carbone took me as a favor. Again, I was the 35th player on a 35-man roster," Sorge said.

"The first day of practice, coach said, 'Josh, did you get your catcher's gear?' I said, 'What?'

"I get this catcher's gear. I have two left shin guards, a protector that looked like it had been sitting on top of the convocation center all summer long, it was lime green, and a face mask from 1965."

Sorge redshirted his freshman year while learning the catcher's position in the bullpen. He caught a little bit the following year, but moved to third base the next year when the starter went down with an injury.

"I was shaky defensively. The next year they moved me to first base and finally, in my senior year, they found a position I could play and that was DH," Sorge said.

"The good thing for me was I learned a lot of positions and probably the position I'm best with is catcher and that's what I taught at Georgia Tech.

"Coach Carbone not only taught me the game of baseball, he taught me some other things along the way like loyalty, respect and work ethic."

Sorge was team captain his senior season, earned All-America honors and graduated with a degree in secondary education. He continued at Ohio U. as a graduate assistant coach while working toward a master's degree. After a year, he tired of going to class and decided to take his bachelor's degree and teach.

A month into teaching 10th grade world literature, he knew he had to get back to college baseball.

"Luckily, a position opened up at Ohio U., I went back, coached and finished (my) master's degree in athletic administration," Sorge said. "I learned more about coaching the year I spent in the classroom trying to teach 120 kids about Shakespeare and Dante's Inferno. You have 120 buttons to push and that helped me in my approach to instruction."

He moved on to Georgia Tech knowing he wanted to spend at least two seasons there to take advantage of working in an elite college program. Volunteer coach means just that, so Sorge supplemented his wife Dana's income by running baseball camps and giving private lessons in the Atlanta area.

"I'm glad I did that. You see every possible flaw in a swing and you realize you can't correct every problem the same way. It's just like teaching," Sorge said.

"When this opportunity came up, I said, 'this is something you need to do.' I feel so fortunate, because of the places I've been able to be. To go from Ohio U. to Georgia Tech to the University of Hawaii, you couldn't write a better script."

UH Athletics
Ka Leo O Hawaii

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