CLOVER — Former Clover High School and Lenoir-Rhyne University standout Hank Wofford has been named the Blue Eagles’ head baseball coach.
Wofford succeeds Darrell Van Dyke, who has led the program for the past eight seasons. Van Dyke said he has decided to step down from coaching but will continue to teach math at Clover High.
CHS Athletic Director Carroll Hester said the coaching change became effective at the end of the 2014 baseball season April 25.
“I want to thank coach Van Dyke for his commitment and loyalty to our baseball program over the last eight years. His coaching career speaks for itself, and we are grateful to him for his efforts,” said Clover High Principal Mark Hopkins.
Van Dyke said he was grateful for the support he received in his coaching career at Clover.
“I want to thank Ron Wright and Carroll Hester for having confidence in me and allowing me the opportunity to coach the Blue Eagle baseball team for eight years,” said Van Dyke.
“I want to thank the players, assistant coaches, fans and all of those involved in the baseball program for their support. I wish the new coach all the success.”
Wofford began coaching in 2009 with the Upstate Mavericks. He has been a head coach of 16-under and 17-under teams since 2010.
With Clover, Wofford has served as assistant junior varsity and varsity baseball coach from 2011-2013, before being named the head JV coach this past season. He also coaches the Junior American Legion Post 38 team in Clover.
“I am excited for coach Wofford and see much potential in him and the future of Clover baseball,” said Hester.
“He was a super student and athlete here at Clover High; he was a very hard worker when he played, and I know that he will bring that same work ethic to his role as the head baseball coach at Clover,” Hester said.
Wofford, a Clover native, played for the Blue Eagles from 2003-06 before earning a scholarship to NCAA Division II Lenoir-Rhyne, where he graduated with a degree in physical education in 2011.
He appeared in 200 games for the Bears and finished his career with a .336 batting average and 97 RBIs. He won multiple Gold Glove awards at the region and conference levels for his stellar defense at second base. In 2009, he was named to the All-South Atlantic Conference first team.
He holds LRU records for most at-bats in a season (222) and career (819), doubles in one game (three, against Charleston on Feb. 15, 2009), games played in a season (55) and career (210) and games started in a season (55) and career (210).
Wofford led the Bears in runs (51) in 2010 and stolen bases in 2007 and 2008 (13 and 24, respectively).
At Clover, Wofford earned all-region and all-county honors three times. Following his senior season, he played in the North-South game and was named the Clover High School Male Student Athlete of the Year.
Van Dyke has had a stellar playing and coaching career, that culminated with his induction into the North Carolina Legion Hall of Fame in March.
Van Dyke, a multisport athlete at Kings Mountain High in the early 1970s, played at Gardner-Webb in the late 1970s before embarking on a coaching career at East Gaston High School in 1978.
At East Gaston, where the field now bears his name, he guided the Warriors to a 362-281-2 record, 13 playoff berths and nine conference championships, from 1980 to 2006.
While Van Dyke was at East Gaston, he began coaching legion baseball, first at Stanley, where he led Post 266 to a 128-113 record, and later for the Braves (46-42).
Van Dyke restored the American Legion Baseball experience in Clover after Legion baseball had been dormant for years. He built the program from the ground up and absorbed losses to established Legion powers with a youth movement until the program had time to attract older participants, including several of York’s best players in the early years.
Participation grew to the point of fielding two junior Legion teams, along with the senior Legion squad. The junior and senior Legion teams’ combined record is 59-93.
In eight seasons with the Blue Eagles, Van Dyke compiled a 91-108 record, including four playoff berths and a trip to the district finals in 2009. There are 15 former Clover players who either played or are playing college baseball that were coached by Van Dyke.
“Coach Van Dyke has done an outstanding job in leading our baseball program over the past eight years and I much appreciate what he has done and the example that he has been for our athletes on and off of the field,” Hester said.