Nix steps down as EHS baseball coach, assistant coach Ryan Presnell named to lead Cyclones

Published 11:14 pm Tuesday, May 19, 2015

by Bryce Phillips

Star Staff

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After leading the Elizabethton High School baseball team for eight seasons, head coach Joe Nix has decided to step down, making way for assistant coach Ryan Presnell to step into the head position.

“This had nothing to do with baseball here,” EHS athletic director Mike Wilson said. “This is something that Joe has talked about for a while.”

Nix’s departure comes after his decision to move to Colorado with his family, where his father, Joe Nix Jr., has run a ranch at the base of Mount Blanca since the early 1980s, now serving as a ministry for fatherless boys.

“The last four summers we have had a mentoring camp for fatherless boys,” Nix said. “We use the ranch to do it. It is out of the middle of nowhere in the Rockies, and it something that we are trying to grow and make bigger and bigger.

“My family is going to go out and basically be caretakers,” he added.

Nix said a lot of people have asked him if he is nervous about the change, but he said he feels that the move is something that he has been called to do.

“I can totally tell that it is not just something that I want to do; it is something that somebody way way higher than me has designed,” Nix said.

But when baseball season rolls around next year, Nix says he knows that he will miss being coach of the Cyclones.

“I know come this time next spring, I will be out there splitting wood or chasing cattle and I will be thinking about swinging a fungo bat or yelling at players across the field.”

As he moves on from the team, he said he knows that Presnell will pick up where he left off.

“When we first met and sat down, I knew we were on the same page,” Nix said. “Everything is exactly the way we wanted to keep things going. . . I think he is going to do an excellent job.”

Presnell will be taking over after a year of being an assistant coach for Cyclones. The new head coach graduated from EHS in 1998, after playing football and baseball as a Cyclone.

After 9/11, Presnell joined the military and spent a year in Iraq, before working for the FBI. His first coaching gig was with Jefferson County High School as an assistant coach. He also spent time coaching at Tennessee High School.

“There is one thing I guarantee,” Presnell said. “This team will play harder than any other team. That is going to take a lot of training in the off-season.”