Phil Callaghan stopped coaching baseball in 2006 to spend more time with is family. Now he'll get the chance to do a little of both as the coach of the Olentangy Orange High School baseball team.

Phil Callaghan stopped coaching baseball in 2006 to spend more time with is family. Now he'll get the chance to do a little of both as the coach of the Olentangy Orange High School baseball team.

Callaghan coached at DeSales and most recently at Dublin Scioto before resigning in 2006. Now, the coaching itch has returned.

"We live in the Orange district and my kids are in Olentangy Local Schools," said Callaghan, who is a math teacher at Orange Middle School. "I have followed Orange since it opened and know that they have quality kids and quality families."

Callaghan has a career record of 460-140, a .767 winning percentage. He was 207-74 at DeSales from 1986-1995 before taking over at Scioto when the school opened in the fall of 1995. His Scioto his teams were 253-66.

"Phil brings a lot of experience and his resume is impeccable with the things he has done for the baseball programs at Scioto and DeSales," Orange athletics director Tony Milano said. "Besides his on-the-field credentials, he's a great guy and a great teacher. We're lucky to have him."

Callaghan replaces Todd Baker, whose teams were 27-27 and 14-12 in the OCC-Capital Division in the program's two seasons. Last year, the Pioneers finished 17-11 overall after losing to Newark 8-1 in the opening round of the Division I district tournament.

"I got to see Orange play a few times last year and have spoken to many people involved in the program about the talent level at Orange," Callaghan said. "I think it is very good. However, so far I have only gotten to meet the players and I am extremely impressed with the quality of young men that are in this program."

Orange finished tied for second with Watkins Memorial in the OCC-Capital last season at 9-5 behind Mount Vernon at 13-1. Hilliard Bradley and New Albany tied for fourth at 8-6 followed by Delaware at 7-7, Big Walnut at 2-12 and Franklin Heights at 0-14.

Expected back are four of the team's top hitters including senior designated hitter Louie Lobello (.452, 3 home runs, 18 RBI, 27 runs), junior outfielder Cole McCurry (.377, 3 homers, 21 RBI, 31 runs and 12 stolen bases), senior infielder Jared Leet (.377, 4 homers, 23 RBI) and senior infielder Joe Haskins (.358, 11 runs, 15 RBI).

Also expected back are junior shortstop Luke Wolford (.316, 26 runs, 15 RBI) and Brai Beckel. The junior came up from junior varsity late in the season as a catcher, third baseman and an outfielder, but he was most impressive at the plate, hitting .600 (18 for 30) with three homers, three triples, 12 runs and 15 RBI.

Callaghan said the Orange program bears a striking resemblance to his fledgling Scioto teams.

"There are similarities to when I took over Scioto and the school was in its third year," he said. "Opening Scioto was a unique opportunity and different from this experience in that many of the kinks at Orange have already been worked out. Opening Scioto was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and one I will cherish. Orange has many similarities to what we faced at Scioto during the third year."

But Callaghan said one of the biggest perks was coaching a team when his job was next door to the high school.

"I was probably going to take the Orange job even when they did not have an opening to teach," he said. "A position at the middle school came open late and it has worked out well. As a former A.D., I always felt that teaching in the building was worth two points on a 10-point scale. Therefore, if I was hiring someone outside the building, they had to be very good. The point is that you need to have your head coaches in your building and we are hoping that having the head coach one parking lot over works out just fine."