Sailors named Elwood baseball coach

·3 min read

Jul. 8—ELWOOD — In looking to fill their head coaching vacancy, the Elwood baseball program did not have look very far.

In fact, they found their man just one diamond to the south.

After a season as an Elwood softball assistant, Grant Sailors was named last week to be the next leader of the Panthers baseball program.

This is the first head coaching opportunity for the 26-year old, 2014 Wabash High School graduate. A 3-sport star with the Apaches—Sailors was a first-team All-State baseball selection as a senior—he played for a season at the University of St. Francis before returning to his alma mater as an assistant basketball coach.

He has also been a member of the United States Men's National fastpitch softball team since 2019, but is excited for his first chance as a head coach in the community he has made his home over the last 2 years.

"Coming from a big baseball community and coming in and seeing where it's at right now, I'm excited to get the ball rolling and creating a certain standard, if you will, a tradition here at Elwood," Sailors said. "I played baseball for 14 years and transitioned into playing competitive softball and last year was my first year really coaching full-time and I really enjoyed it."

Sailors says having a year at the school will help make the transition to the baseball program go more smoothly and that being a coach has always been a goal for life after his athletic career.

"I've always wanted to be a head coach" he said. "The love for sports, no matter what it is, is always going to be there for me. I think, just the continual competitiveness in me is what drives me to do that."

Elwood has struggled to a 19-48 record in 3 seasons—2020 was cancelled due to Covid—since 2018 when the Panthers were 20-8 and claimed the Nick Muller championship with a 1-0 win over Pendleton Heights. While Elwood has not won a baseball sectional since 2014, Sailors is looking to establish a new tradition that features success off and on the field.

"One of our coaches — Jack Bennett is going to be helping us — was on that team," he said. "He can give some feedback on that. I've definitely looked at the past records and there have been some ups and downs. So, just trying to get that consistency with way more ups than downs is our goal."

After this week's IHSAA moratorium prohibiting school athletic activities, Sailors is looking forward to getting to work with his returning players. He says there will be plenty of talent on the field for Elwood next spring.

"I know we have a couple incoming freshmen that are pretty good as well," Sailors said. "Excited about that and hopefully those guys can step into a leadership role, the guys who have been there."

Contact Rob Hunt at

rob.hunt@heraldbulletin.com or 765-640-4886.