Coaching his son was never supposed to be in the cards for Phil Callaghan.
The Olentangy Orange High School baseball coach figured he would be sitting in the stands with the other parents when his son, Cole, was promoted to varsity as a sophomore in 2016, but that never happened.
Before the 2015 season, Phil received a phone call from a stranger asking for a helping hand. He extended that hand and his coaching career.
"I always said I didn't want to coach Cole because I saw how difficult it can be," Phil said. "I was out here at the field and I got a phone call from Brandon Oswalt, who I had never met and he was in the process of adopting Tyler Brown (a 2017 Orange graduate who now is a freshman playing at Vanderbilt). He said that this kid had a chance to be something and we needed to ... make sure he gets there. He said he talked to 10 coaches around the state and six told him to call me. What can you do? Maybe it was God talking to me. Tyler had been raised in a trailer park and his mom had just died of cancer. I had to help him out."
Phil had seen the pitfalls of fathers coaching sons during summer baseball. He continued to coach the Pioneers with the help of assistant Matt Lattig, who became kind of a personal coach for Cole.
"Maybe the most important relationship you have other than with your wife is with your son, and I have seen so many broken father-son relationships in the summer," Phil said. "I have gotten to the point to where I try to figure out who is the coach's son, and within an inning or two it becomes obvious 90 percent of the time.
"Luckily I had Matt as an assistant head coach, and he helped me out with Cole while I became kind of the elderly voice of wisdom. Now his son, (sophomore) Zane (Lattig), is one of our better players and Cole is one of our leaders so Matt has taken a little of a backseat and I'm back in more of a hands-on role."
Cole said being a coach's son has its ups and downs, but his father easily makes the transition from baseball to family life.
"I think that he will leave it here (at the field) as long as I don't bring it up," Cole said. "There are times when I bring it up because there are some things that I want to know or find out ways to get better. He'll talk about it when I initiate it, but he won't bring it up unless I want to talk about it."
Cole broke into the starting lineup as an outfielder last season, when the Pioneers lost to Strongsville 3-2 in a Division I state semifinal, and has moved to second base this spring. Orange was 11-9 overall and 6-6 in the OCC-Buckeye Division after defeating Westerville South 4-2 on April 30.
"I was swinging a bat about (age) 3 or 4 and at 5 I played on a team with my sister, Leah, who is a couple years older and much better than me," said Cole, who was batting .280 through 19 games and led Orange with 13 stolen bases. "She was pretty good in her day, but she gave it up for soccer.
"People have always asked me if I really loved to play the game or if I was playing for my dad. But I definitely found a love early on and since then it's what I wanted to do."
Phil has experienced a great deal of success as a coach. In his 29 seasons at DeSales, Dublin Scioto and Orange, he had a career record of 628-220 before April 30, including 168-53 in eight seasons with the Pioneers.
He also experienced coaching a family member early in his career.
"I got a tryout with this by coaching my brother, John Callaghan, who is 10 years younger than me," Phil said. "I coached him at DeSales, where he was a three-year starter and an all-Ohio player who graduated in 1991.
"We went to regional (in Division II) in his senior year, but he got a hard time because 'everything that he had done came because his brother was the coach.' He truly was like a son because of the 10 years difference. There was a whole handful of positives and a whole handful of negatives. Anybody who has ever done that knows what he had to live through."
Phil said he has heard criticism and praise from parents, but tends to tune all of it out.
"It's my 29th year as a head coach and the advice I give to my young assistants is that you have to write off everything that a parent does, whether it be good, bad or indifferent, to the love a child," he said. "Even as a coach, you have the same crazy instincts, but you have to stay rational and think about the whole team, and it really is difficult.
"You also worry about what people are going to say, so you have to just sit and hope ... for (your children to do well). That adversity is good for them, but it's rough on the dads, and the moms."
The Pioneers are seeded 23rd of 48 teams for the district tournament and open with a second-round home game Wednesday, May 9, against 25th-seeded Thomas Worthington or 35th-seeded Central Crossing.
Orange closes the regular season with four home games -- Worthington Christian on Thursday, May 3, Westerville North on Friday, May 4, in the league finale and Mansfield Madison and Sparta Highland in a doubleheader Saturday, May 5.
That means Cole's prep career is coming to a close. He plans to attend Capital to play baseball and study business management and economics.
"The biggest thing I have learned from my dad is that you have to look at the bigger picture, especially this year," he said. "We have to keep doing what we know to do and what is right, and that will pay off for us. It might not be in baseball or sports, but the things we are learning now will pay off for us in the long run."
Chugh resigns as hockey coach
Tim Chugh has resigned as coach of the hockey team because of family obligations during the coming months.
In Chugh's three seasons, the Pioneers finished 53-45-4-3 overall and 25-19-1-3 in the Capital Hockey Conference. This past season, they were 19-16-1 overall and fourth (13 points, 6-9-1) in CHC-White behind champion Cincinnati Moeller (25, 12-3-0-1).
"My oldest son, Alexander, is going to grad school at Barry University in Florida, near Miami, and we're going to get a fixer-upper condo and get it ready for him to live there when school starts in August," Chugh said. "Being away from (central Ohio) this summer, it wouldn't be fair to the players. Because of that, I decided it was time to step down."
Athletics director Buck Weaver said Chugh will be difficult to replace.
"I was definitely disappointed to hear that Tim was leaving because I feel that his philosophy and mine were aligned," Weaver said. "But he made his decision with the best interest of his players. He didn't want to leave us in limbo, and it was a responsible move.
"I already have started conversations with people about finding his replacement. I will also talk to the returning players and get some input from them before getting a search committee together and starting interviews. We want to get this done quickly, but we also want to find the right person. Hopefully we can find someone who did as much for the program as Tim did."
Softball team opens district with DeSales
The softball team is seeded 26th for the Division I district tournament and opens Monday, May 7, at home against 31st-seeded DeSales. The Pioneers defeated the Stallions 11-10 on April 14.
The winner advances to a second-round game Wednesday, May 9, at fourth-seeded Groveport, with that winner playing in a district semifinal May 14.
Orange was 8-15 overall and 3-6 in the OCC-Buckeye after losing to Olentangy 8-5 on April 30. It closes the regular season Friday, May 4, against Hartley.
Jenn Rubal had three singles and drove in a run, Alyssa Laisure had two singles and three RBI and Cami Clarkson had two singles and an RBI as the Pioneers defeated Westerville South 6-2 on April 26 in league play.
Below are the coming schedules for the Orange boys lacrosse, girls lacrosse, boys tennis, track & field and boys volleyball teams:
May 3 -- Home vs. St. Charles
May 8 -- Home vs. Centerville
May 3 -- At Gahanna
May 4 -- At Granville
May 3 -- At Watterson
May 8 -- Home vs. Wellington
TRACK & FIELD
May 4 -- Delaware County Elite 8 at home
*May 3 -- Home vs. Westerville North. The Pioneers lost to the Warriors 25-21, 25-13, 25-16 on April 16.
May 9 -- Home vs. Upper Arlington