Jordan baseball coach named 5A Coach of the Year
Apr 15, 2019 10:55AM
By Ron Bevan
Jordan baseball coach Chad Fife was named the Utah 5A Coach of the Year. (Ron Bevan/City Journals)
By Ron Bevan | [email protected]
One of the perks of taking home a state title is that you get noticed. You also get recognized for your hard work.
But that isn’t the only reason Jordan baseball coach Chad Fife was recently named Utah 5A Baseball Coach of the Year.
“Obviously his team winning the state championship last year helped, but more than that it was the leadership Fife showed throughout the playoffs that earned him this award,” Stephen Hansen said. Hansen is the president of the Utah State Baseball Coaches Association for 2019. He is also the coach of Mountain Crest High School in Hyrum, Utah.
“The award is voted on by the 5A coaches throughout Utah,” Hansen said. “Fife is well liked by his peers, not just because he is a great coach and runs a good program, but also because he is concerned about his players and takes care of them.”
Fife is in his sixth season as the head coach of the Jordan Beetdiggers and 13th overall season with the program. He came to Jordan at the request of former head coach Ron Anderson.
“Anderson called me up and said he needed an assistant,” Fife said. “At the time I thought it would be fun to coach at the high school level and here I am 13 years later.”
Fife was well acquainted with Anderson as the two had played collegiate baseball together at Utah Technical College (now Utah Valley University) in Orem. After college, Fife kept busy in baseball coaching in the youth programs and some traveling teams. He even had a stint as an assistant coach for his former college.
Jordan has won two state titles since Fife became the head coach, once in 2014 and again last year. The 2018 campaign began with little recognition of becoming a state championship. Early-season results had the Beetdiggers losing just as many games as winning.
But then the team turned things around and put together a streak of 18 straight victories, the final being an 11-1 win over Olympus to claim the state title.
All this despite the school having little or no programs developing young players to become baseball prospects.
“We don’t have a feeder program here in Sandy,” Fife said. “There is no little league program that builds the kids from a young age. It mostly ends up becoming travel teams for the players that eventually become good players.”
Instead Jordan has become a powerhouse in baseball because of its reputation.
“We get a lot of players by word of mouth,” Fife said. “We have consistently put out a good product and been a good grooming tool for young boys to become fine young men. They know they have a chance to go on to college from here, and their parents know we teach them good life skills as well.”
“Fife just restocks the shelves every year,” Jordan Athletic Director Brandon Watts said. “This is the school where kids that play baseball want to play.”
Although winning baseball games has its advantages, Fife makes sure his players stay grounded. Every year they become involved in different community services, which almost always includes a few days of feeding the homeless.
“If your players become good young men that means more to me than winning or any type of award,” Fife said.
For Watts, having a coach like Fife on his staff makes his job that much easier as he rarely has to worry about the baseball program.
“I love his demeanor with the kids,” Watts said. “He treats the players well and he runs a good program. I have never heard a parent or kid say anything bad about him. To have a program that has competed at the top for as long as we have and not have any troubles is a great thing. At the high school level we always have people that want to be nitpicky with our coaches. It just doesn’t happen with Fife.”