By Justin Jarrett
Zach Jacobs hoped he would still be playing in 2021, but baseball comes at you fast. Becoming a high school head coach at the age of 24 is a heck of a detour.
Just four years ago, Jacobs was tearing up the Coastal Plain League and preparing for his junior season, which would have been his first at Francis Marion University. Now, he’s Beaufort High School’s new baseball coach.
The Eagles tabbed Jacobs, the top assistant at Class 5A power Berkeley High School, to take over for Keith Riley, who resigned after leading Beaufort to the Class 4A Lower State championship series this spring.
Jacobs has risen quickly through the coaching ranks since an injury derailed his promising collegiate career. He returned home to Berkeley to continue his baseball education under legendary head coach Landy Cox, starting as a volunteer assistant before taking over the top assistant role and becoming the head junior varsity coach this season.
The young coach will have a young team, too, as the Eagles graduated eight seniors who played key roles during the fantastic 2021 season.
“A lot of people think there’s a lot of pressure on me, but I’m excited to take on this challenge,” Jacobs said. “We might run out nine sophomores my first year and compete. The best ones are going to play, and I’m excited to see what these young guys can do and for the future to come.”
Jacobs will have a veteran player and coach in his corner, as former Major League pitcher Scott Mullen has agreed to return to the dugout where he was the Eagles’ head coach in 2012 and 2013.
“I’m very fortunate that he was willing to help do this, not only for me, but for the program,” Jacobs said. “These pitchers who don’t have much experience at the high school level are going to be able to lean on him.”
Jacobs says he wants the Eagles to play the same gritty, grind-it-out style of baseball that has made Berkeley so successful, which means playing relentless defense, running the bases well, and playing small ball, when the moment calls for it. He is excited about the depth of young talent poised to pick up where the seniors left off.
“The amount of rave that goes on about these young guys and the young talent they have coming up through their program is ridiculous,” Jacobs said. “It’s good to come in as an outsider and not know anything about anybody or have any ties, because you can truly dissect everybody’s ability and what they’re capable of doing. With the amount of young talent that we have coming through this program, it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
To listen to an extended interview with new Beaufort High baseball coach Zach Jacobs, download the LowcoSports Lowdown podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or any other podcast provider.