Johnny DeRing is returning home to rejuvenate the Whitehall-Yearling High School baseball program while also moving closer to family.

Pending school board approval, DeRing will replace Bill Welsh, who stepped down after six seasons in which the Rams went 31-106 overall and 16-62 in the MSL-Ohio Division. They were 1-18 overall and 1-9 in the league this spring.

DeRing has coached high school baseball in Georgia the past 10 years.

“I chose John because of his head-coaching experience, his ability to build a program at all levels and determination to be successful,” athletics director Bill Hughett said. “Bringing in a high-caliber coach such as John, our program from the bottom to the top will improve greatly. He is moving his family to Columbus from Georgia, which shows his commitment to our program while getting closer to his extended family.”

DeRing, 34, is a 2002 graduate of Whetstone, where he was a catcher on the baseball team. His father, John, is the swimming and diving coach at Whetstone.

He played baseball for two seasons at the University of Mount Union, graduating in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in physical education.

After coaching Whetstone in a summer league for two years, DeRing moved to Georgia at the urging of a college roommate. He was an assistant coach at Effingham County in Springfield, Georgia, for five seasons before serving as an assistant at South Effingham in Guyton, Georgia, for three years and head coach the past two seasons.

“I took over a team with very little experience on the varsity in one of the most competitive states for high school baseball, so I’m not afraid of a challenge,” DeRing said. “Coming in and investing in the kids and investing in the community and the total sports programs at Whitehall, we’ll be able to turn the tide a little bit.”

DeRing will be a physical education teacher at Rosemore Middle School.

“My wife (Rachael) is from the Columbus area; she went to Big Walnut,” DeRing said. “We always said we were going to head back home at some point. We have a 15-month-old, so there’s no better time than now to get home and get closer to family.”

fdirenna@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekFrank