The transition for the Pampa High School baseball program will be a rather smooth one as former assistant coach Austin Samulowitz will take over after Kaleb Snelgrooes left the program.
Samulowitz, who has been with Pampa High School for six years, will be the PHS History Department Head and a first-year head coach when the Harvesters take the field next spring.
“After being here for six years and working under Snelgrooes, learning the traditions of Pampa and assimilated to those traditions, it’s exciting to my family and I,” Samulowitz said. “We are super-grateful for the opportunity and will carry-on those awesome traditions here in Pampa.”
Samulowitz will also still be working with the secondary for varsity football and said “It’s hard to beat Friday Night Lights.”
There will be some adjusting going from the junior varsity coach to the head baseball coach.
“Just trying to be the head coach in the players’ mind (will be an adjustment,” Samulowitz said. “They are so used to me being the assistant coach. I’ll have to work that relationship and I have a lot more responsibilities. But I’m excited for that.”
Some of those responsibilities include the itineraries for road games, networking with other coaches and other program necessities. But Samulowitz said he is familiar with some of those logistical items thanks to Snelgrooes empowering him.
“Kaleb let me do a lot of that as the JV guy,” Samulowtiz said. “He also let me experience a lot of the logistics and the management piece of running a program. He let me take some ownership. I’m really appreciative of that.”
Samulowitz is aware of the big picture when it comes to coaching: it’s not just about baseball.
“I’ve got to see the bigger picture and not just baseball,” Samulowitz said. “(It’s about) growing these young men into being good fathers, husbands and positive members of society one day. That’s definitely a program goal for us other than just winning.”
Samulowitz is just one of a handful of new faces in the Pampa athletics building along with Coach Cody Robinson and Coach Carter Robinson.
“Part of coaching is about building relationships with other coaches,” Samulowitz said. “Getting to work and build new relationships with other coaches is a good time. I really enjoy that aspect of the job.”
Samulowitz will have a bigger senior class taking the diamond in the spring and will have a lot of familiarity with them as he worked with them on JV.
“I think it’ll make the transition easier,” Samulowitz said. “I’ve got a great group of seniors coming back and a great group of kids to work with. We’re looking to continue the tradition of winning, working hard and earning everything we earn on the baseball field and the classroom.”
Working under Snelgrooes has been a privilege for Samulowitz.
“I’m extremely lucky to have worked under him for six years,” Samulowitz said. “He let me take ownership of JV for four or five years. He let me make my own scheduled, travel on my own, take care of meals and eventually let me take over the pitching staff. Him letting me take responsibility and make it my own was huge for my development. I definitely want to pass that on to my assistant coaches (Coach Steve Barton and one to come).”
Samulowitz has been married to his wife and the PHS Head Volleyball Coach, Kaylee, for seven years and the pair have two children, daughter Johnnie Sue and son Ryne.
Austin and Kaylee are both heavily involved in Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) and First Baptist Church.
“We’re involved in a small group at FBC,” Samulowitz said. “We run FCA during the week and have awesome kids in that from FBC, Trinity and Briarwood. We have great buy-in from the community. Our FCA are awesome. They run their own huddles, plan their own speakers and food. They take ownership of that.”
Lastly, Samulowitz is thankful for the opportunity from the administration.
“I’d like to thank Dr. (Tanya) Larkin (PISD Superintendent), Dr. Abigayle Barton (Assistant Superintendent/Human Resources) and Cody Robinson (PISD Athletic Director) for giving me this opportunity,” Samulowitz said. “They’ve helped me grow and given me an opportunity to run this program. My family and I are very appreciative of that. Cody has come in this first semester and brought awesome energy into this program and taking it to the next level. I’m excited I get to work with him in this transition.”