“Building Champions”: Former Athens Coach is a Published Author

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Chris Stewart is a man of many talents. As a coach of the Athens baseball team, he led the Bulldogs to the greatest two-year stretch in school history; a stretch that included back-to-back district titles and the school record for wins in a single season. He’s an administrator, working as operations coordinator for the Scripps College of Communication. He’s a parent, with a son just starting a collegiate baseball career and a daughter ending a high school softball career. He’s now added another talent: He’s a published author.

Chris Stewart (Left) Celebrating a District Title

The book Building Champions: Coaching, Parenting, and Playing to Win in What Really Matters is directed towards coaches and parents in youth sports.

“Whether you are a coach, a parent, or a young athlete, this book will challenge you and inspire you to want to seek a better way,” Stewart said. “Plain and simple, in the world of youth sports, we need better coaches.”

The book started as an idea.

“I sat down probably about seven or eight years ago and opened up my folder on my computer called book research,” he said.

Although he kept up weekly blog posts through the years, Stewart never found the time to sit down and write the book. When he decided it was time to step away from the Athens baseball program, he began the book-writing process.

“Everyplace there is a coach that can learn from the mistakes I made,” he said.

Why Step Away?

Stewart’s decision to step away from the Bulldogs came as a surprise. He held the job for just four years, is only 45 years old, and didn’t leave Athens for a college or another high school. He said he stepped away so he could focus on his family.

Stewart interacting with Athens Softball team

His daughter Kaylee is finishing her high school softball career at Athens. She recently pitched in a win against Logan, while dad is at practice, helping coach the team.

“In the past two seasons I have seen a total of only four of her varsity softball games in person,” Stewart said. “Over the years I have spent so much time in baseball coaching activities that I have missed way too many of her games,” he said.

He is also making frequent trips to West Virginia to watch son Brock begin a baseball career at Alderson Broaddus University.

Coaching again isn’t out of the question for Stewart, but he said he needs to finish the commitment to his children first.

What’s Next?

Stewart’s book became available on Amazon last week, and while it isn’t a best-seller yet, he said he thinks it can be a real tool in helping coaches and parents.

“If you desire to be a better coach, this book is for you; if you desire to be a better parent, this book is for you; if you desire to be a better athlete, this book is for you,” he said. “We need more parents who are able to pause and keep perspective for the ten or so years while their children are playing sports,” he said. “We need more athletes who understand the greatest value of playing sports is learning how to become a champion in every aspect of their lives,” he said.