OGDENSBURG The way Tom Pinkerton looks at it, coaching is in his DNA and he bleeds the Blue and White of Ogdensburg Free Academy.
I cant remember a time when I wasnt around the OFA athletic fields or in the gyms, said Pinkerton, 43 who is now preparing for his first season as his alma maters varsity baseball coach.
Its a position that he appeared destined to hold.
He presides over a program that his father, the late Jim Pinkerton, elevated to one of the most successful in the state in a coaching career that ended much too early when he died battling cancer at age 48 in 1996.
At the time his death Jim Pinkerton, who also served as OFAs athletic director, held a 316-148 baseball coaching record with 12 league and sectional titles and 10 appearances in the state tournament, highlighted by an appearance in the Class B championship game in 1993.
I do a lot of the same things my father did in coaching but the most important aspect of my fathers teachings that I will continue is the development of young men, Tom Pinkerton said. If I can positively impact half of the people he did, I will be doing a good job.
Pinkerton has devoted a lot of practice time working with his players in the batting cage and continues to learn in his first year on the job.
Over the years I have picked the brains of a lot coaches and picked up a lot of things by reading various articles, he said. I try to absorb as much as I can.
As youngsters, Tom and his brothers Marc and Eric spent countless hours at the baseball field while their father directed practices and guided the Blue Devils. In the winter months they shot baskets or played impromptu games in the gym while their mother, Patti Pinkerton Goodnow, coached OFAs cheerleading teams.
Tom Pinkerton became a varsity coach shortly after graduation from LeMoyne College in 1992 when he took over the helm of the OFA volleyball program. He coached through the 1995 season and also coached womens volleyball at St. Lawrence University, SUNY Potsdam and SUNY Canton.
In 2004, Pinkerton became OFAs junior varsity baseball coach when longtime coach Chuck Ladouceur retired.
Pinkerton continued that success working closely with Mike Sargent who had succeeded Jim Pinkerton at the varsity level. When Sargent retired from the school system in June, Pinkerton moved into the varsity position in a natural family progression, which also includes his wife Jackie who has coached OFA cheerleading for several years. Pinkertons brother Marc will serve as an assistant coach along with Owen Luckie.
Eric Pinkerton, the youngest of the Pinkerton brothers, played on Jim Pinkertons final team and now coaches youth baseball in Fayetteville.
I think it is just wonderful that Tommy is taking over the varsity team. It keeps the cycle going, Sargent said.
The Pinkerton family legacy at OFA baseball also continues in the playing ranks where Tom and Jackie Pinkertons son, sophomore Seth Pinkerton, is part of a talented Blue Devil squad that is looking to repeat as Section 10 Class B Champions.
But as far as Tom Pinkerton is concerned the postseason is a long range goal.
Right now I am concentrating on taking care of the little things in preparation and in practice, he said. I believe that if we work hard at the little things the work will pay off in winning.
Baseball has been a strong sport in the Northern Athletic Conference in recent years and this season should feature more competitive races.
The Central Division figures to be contested by four teams. Massena won last year with an 8-0 record, but Malone, Ogdensburg Free Academy and Potsdam will all be in the mix.
The most competitive division could be the East. Norwood-Norfolk went 6-2 in the Central last year and Brushton-Moira was 6-2 in the North Division, which no longer exists. Madrid-Waddington was 8-2 in the East a year ago and Parishville-Hopkinton went 7-3.
Morristown was undefeated in West Division play a year ago (12-0), but Heuvelton stayed close at 10-2 and those two figure to be at or near the top again this season.
Some of the top individuals returning this season are Malones Brandon Welch, Heuveltons Aaron Cobb and Chris Power, Madrid-Waddingtons Jacob Mayette and Greg Thompson, Morristowns Dakota Marshall, Norwood-Norfolks Cody Smith, Cantons Bryant Wentworth, Potsdams Will Coleman, who missed last year with an injury, and OFAs Brendan Arsenault, Breton LaRose and Andrew Cole.