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A NEW ERA: New Riders head coach Bevan discusses philosophy for baseball, football

Jun. 4—When Hulbert baseball head coach Shane Bevan took his new gig, he was excited at the opportunity to drop to 2A.

Over the past eight years, Bevan was head coach for the Okmulgee Bulldogs, a 3A school. Even though HHS is just one level lower, Bevan is a fan of the smaller format of a 2A school.

"I am more of a small school type of person," Bevan said. "It seemed like the right fit. I just wanted to get away from the bigger schools for a little bit. Most of the kids play everything, and I enjoy that we share our kids amongst the sports."

After last season's head coach, John Rozell, did not renew his contract, hiring Bevan seemed like a no-brainer for Athletic Director Jordan Hill. Bevan's strong tenure with the Bulldogs made it was clear he was able to take over for Rozell, who set Bevan and the Riders up for success.

"Shane knows a lot of different areas. He comes from a school that has done well while he was there," Hill said. "He brings a knowledge of baseball and football. His knowledge of baseball is strong; the transition from Rozell and the success he had was great. We wanted to find someone with the same fire for it and we think we have that in Bevan."

Before the season starts, Bevan will put his team in a summer league beginning on Tuesday, June 4. Over the summer, HHS will start to learn how to play under their new leader.

"I love to play small ball, get them on, get them over, get them in," Bevan said. "I really focus on defense, and coach Rozell did a great job developing the younger kids, and we are going to throw them out there and see what happens."

Going into the Riders' job, Bevan knew he would have some pieces to work with. Ethan Thompson and Ethan Ellis have been a lockdown part of the Riders for the past two seasons. The pair not only serves as the top two pitchers for the Riders, but also as the top hitters.

With a pair of strong players already at his disposal, Bevan is looking to build pieces around the duo. Starting summer ball will help the Riders establish another two arms, according to Bevan.

"Those two guys are going to have to step up and be a part of the leaders and bring the other guys up with them and see we got," Bevan said. "We are just going to try and play hard and play the game right, you can't complain if you do those things. You can never complain if you are playing hard and playing well. You can be well at losses but you can't be mad if they give good effort."

Along with finding some more pitching during the league, Bevan is going to move pieces around to see determine the best combination for this season. With a fresh team, Bevan is taking the opportunity to learn whom he has at his disposal.

"We are just trying to see who we got and what we got," Bevan said. "We want to move plashes around this season and try and figure out what we can do to get the lead-off guy on, move him over and get him in."

Along with serving as the head baseball coach, Bevan is the new defensive coordinator for the Riders football squad. Even though they've just been pushing through spring practices and summer workouts, the Riders are working on collating a new system under Bevan.

"We are in a 4-2-5 [scheme] right now, we are going to play with some other things to see what our personnel can do," Bevan said. "We have to tackle; that has been a big focus."

Bevan and the Riders take the field for the first time in their summer league at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, June 4, at Henryetta.

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