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Vikings hire ex-Eckerd player

By CHRIS GIRANDOLA
Published September 18, 2005

Northeast hired Eric Wagman as its new baseball coach this week.

Wagman, 25, replaces Roman Johnson, who took a similar position as coach and physical education teacher at his alma mater in Texas.

"We're excited about Eric being with us at Northeast," said Ty McCraw, assistant principal of athletics. "Eric showed the most experience on his resume and approached this opportunity with the most enthusiasm."

Wagman, who was chosen over seven candidates, intends to bring an aggressive approach to the game that he learned at Eckerd College as a player and assistant coach.

"Of course, it depends on the personnel, but we'll force the action, put the ball in play, bunt, steal, all the things that will make us a threat," said Wagman, who graduated from Eckerd in 2002 and recently completed his MBA at USF-St. Petersburg.

Wagman inherits a team that loses just four players from last season, when the Vikings advanced to districts before bowing out 5-2 in the semifinals to Seminole. Players such as Austin Gaines, Austin Yee and Austin Smith bring impressive power in the lineup, and Michael Bowman is regarded as one of the better young pitchers in the Tampa Bay area.

"This is an excellent situation for me," said Wagman, who is working on obtaining certification to teach at Northeast. "The school's amazing and the facilities are great. There is tremendous community support with a quality Little League program where players can develop to their best."

Wagman also was an assistant coach at Florida Gulf Coast University. In addition, the former Lakewood graduate recently finished an internship within the Devil Rays organization in the front office.

[Last modified September 18, 2005, 02:15:36]


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