CIRCLEVILLE, Ohio — Ashe County native Michael Blevins was named the head baseball coach at his alma mater, Ohio Christian University. The school made the announcement official on Thursday.
Blevins graduated from Ashe County High School in 2003, and initially attended Wilkes Community College and started working at the Oldham factory in West Jefferson.
When the factory closed down, Blevins decided it was time for a change.
“When Oldham shut down, I went back for a Broadcasting Associates Degree,” said Blevins. “Then in late 2007, I felt called to go back to school at Ohio Christian to pursue my calling in ministry.”
It turns out his passion for the ministry also brought him an opportunity to resume his baseball career.
“When I was talking with a guy from college, he asked if I played a sport in high school, and I said baseball, but that was four years ago,” said Blevins. “So he told me that they were needing guys, in fact, they were needing pitchers.”
Blevins was not a pitcher by trade. According to him he pitched one time in little league and it ended with three walks and a hit batter, so he did not expect to have any sort of career as a pitcher.
As his college baseball career started at Ohio Christian, Blevins says he was fully expecting to be sitting on the bench. However, after a lot of hard work and practice, Blevins was far from a bench warmer.
“By the time the ‘08 season started, I was in the three-hole playing shortstop and pitching, both for the first time in my baseball life,” said Blevins.
Blevins currently holds the school record in four statistical categories. He is tied for the most career wins with 10 and holds the record for most runs scored (95), hits (133) and batting average (.407). Blevins wrapped up his pitching career second in strikeouts with 109, nine short of the school record.
“I was a 21-year-old freshman, and had not played baseball since high school. That’s how little talent we had that first year,” said Blevins. “Throughout my career I was very blessed to squeeze a few hits through the infield and was lucky enough to be on base in front of some great RBI guys.”
Blevins holds the distinction as being the first OCU baseball player to ever be an NCCAA Division II All-American. Blevins accomplished that feat in 2010 and 2011. During his time at OCU, he was also the recipient of the 2010 Hank Burbridge Unlimited Potential Outstanding Christian Leadership Award and was the 2011 Trailblazer Award, the highest honor given by the OCU Athletic Department.
“I was thrilled when Dr. Christman and Mr. Belleman informed me they were taking the interim tag off and naming me the Head Coach. I think I am up to the challenge that the NAIA brings, and I am committed to recruiting the high character and highly talented young men that are required to help continue the growth that has been started by my great coaches, and the coaches that I have worked under,” said Blevins.
Blevins, the son of Rev. Roger and Teresa Blevins, is following in his father’s footsteps as he is the Senior Pastor at Beulah Chapel CCCU in Chillicothe, Ohio.
Blevins and his wife Kenna, married since 2011, have one son named Merrick Levi Blevins.
Nathan Ham can be reached at 336-846-7164 or followed on Twitter @NathanHam87