In an emotional meeting with his team, Catawba Valley Community College men’s baseball Head Coach, Frank Pait announced that he has stepped down and will assume a new role as a counselor at Hickory High School. Assistant baseball coach Paul Rozzelle has been named interim head coach of the Red Hawks for the spring 2015 season.
“It was time to start spending more time with family,” said Pait. “I am excited to handoff a great program to a skilled staff that will continue to keep the program in national prominence.”
Pait has been an integral part in the creation and immediate success of CVCC baseball in 2010. He was brought on staff in 2009 to recruit and set up the college’s first baseball team. In the spring of 2010 the team played its first season under Pait and saw immediate success with a 31-19 record. The team continued a streak of more than 30 wins in the next four years, including a college record of 41 wins last season.
In five seasons with the CVCC baseball team, Pait recorded three conference titles, and a region and district title. In 2012, the team earned its first berth to the NJCAA World Series and secured a fifth place finish. Pait leaves CVCC with a 188-78 record, a 71 winning percentage and a career record in the collegiate ranks of 479-317-1.
“I am very sad to see him go,” said CVCC Athletic Director Nick Schroeder. “Frank has not only been a coach, but a mentor for me and the best supporter of the CVCC athletic program I could ask for. He built the solid winning foundation of CVCC baseball, and I am sure he will continue to remain a chief supporter of CVCC as a whole and all our athletic programs.”
Assistant CVCC Baseball Coach Paul Rozzelle, a Hickory High School graduate and CVCC Alumni, will step in to take over the program immediately, according to Schroeder. Coach Rozzelle has been with the CVCC baseball program from the first season in 2010. Rozzelle focused on strength and conditioning for the team while he began a business specializing in speed, agility, and strength training of athletes where he trained numerous collegiate All-Americans and professional athletes.
In 2013 he was hired as the strength and conditioning coordinator for the Bandy’s High School athletic program and returned to CVCC as an assistant baseball coach in 2014. This last summer Rozzelle served as head coach of the Morganton Militia, which competes in a summer collegiate league. His team included players from the NCAA, NAIA and NJCAA in North America, Hawaii and Canada. Rozzelle earned a bachelor’s degree from Appalachian State University and will complete his master’s degree in sport administration at Coker College in Hartsville, S.C., in February.
“I am sad to see Coach Pait go as he has meant so much to me, not only as a coach, but more importantly, a person.” stated Rozzelle. “I have a special place in my heart for this program and will do everything within my power to ensure its continued success. We will miss Coach Pait and never forget what he has done for CVCC. We will continue to move forward and build upon the foundation that he laid. We will do our best to continue Coach Pait’s legacy of recruiting great young men that will make us proud in the classroom and on the field. Our goal every year is to have our student-athletes receive a great education, compete for a championship and have the opportunity to advance to four-year institutions to continue their education and playing career.”
The Red Hawks will look to begin a difficult schedule on the road with Division I opponent USC Sumter on January 31. In the season home opener February 14, the Red Hawks will play Division I #5 Spartanburg Methodist. The CVCC Baseball team has been ranked the last four years in the NJCAA Division II Top 20 Poll, three NJCAA All-Americans and more than 35 former players moving on to NCAA schools including App State, ECU, Cornell, Hofstra, UNCG, Western Carolina and UNC Asheville.
“The opportunity to start a collegiate baseball team with the support of Dr. Hinshaw at an institution like CVCC is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” said Pait. “I will never forget the support I received from the administration, faculty, staff, students and the greater community for CVCC baseball. I am so proud of all our accomplishments and the young men who made our program what it is. I will never forget my time here, and I am excited to hand the program over and see it achieve even greater things.”