LOSING A LEADER: Hill discusses changes with Hulbert Riders Atheltics

May 23—Hulbert baseball has had more than a head coach on the field over the past two seasons; they team had a leader on the diamond.

John Rozell led the Riders with a strong focus on player development, according to HHS Athletic Director Jordan Hill. Since taking over for the Riders, Rozell helped develop strong players like Ethan Ellis, Ethan Thompson, and Dusty Tedder, amongst others.

"He did really well with the resources he had," Hill said. "He did a lot to give them a lot of skill development. Even the guys he brought last year as freshmen had a big role this year. He did a good job focusing on player development, spending time with pitchers and fielders. I always saw him out there working on a lot of different things."

Rozell is set to move on after not renewing his contract for next season. As it stands, he projects as the next Muldrow head coach. Over two seasons, Rozell led the Riders to a District Title in his first season and 27 wins overall.

During his time with the Riders, Rozell focused on helping transition junior high players into productive high school athletes.

Rozell's departure also runs concurrently with the loss of one of their best junior high athletes: his son, Tripp.

"There was a big focus in the junior high; there is a big focus on building contributors through that program," Hill said.

The Riders are also losing a Regional Fellowship of Christian Athlete Coach of the Year. During his time as FCA lead, HHS had a trio of people honored by the FCA: Tripp and John Rozell, and Trevor Mullins.

"Rozell was one of the FCA Coach of the Year and I thought that was a big deal," Hill said. "Having a coach who led recoils in our school for our kids who were interested — that will be something, too. That is something people don't realize — we have a great leader moving on to hopefully better his career."

Rozell's departure brings a new top man to the Riders. Shane Bevan is set to take over the program, coming from the Okmulgee Bulldogs. After spending eight seasons with the Bulldogs, Bevan is set to take a new challenge at HHS.

"Shane has knowledge on 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; a 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."

Hill is also set to move on from the athletic director position on July 1. Hill is moving on to the private sector but is still going to serve as the Riders' basketball head coach.

"I am still doing basketball, but I won't be doing anything else after [July 1]," Hill said.

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