J.R. Tidwell/FCT Jonathan Raper is the new head coach for the Phil Campbell High School baseball team. He was a coach at Phillips High School in Bear Creek before becoming an assistant for the Bobcats last season under then head coach Darren Welborn.

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PC baseball has new head coach

Published 6:00am Saturday, July 7, 2012

PHIL CAMPBELL — Phil Campbell High School did not have to look very far to find its new head baseball coach.

Jonathan Raper, who took over the position officially last month, is a teacher at Phillips High School in Bear Creek, just a few miles south of Phil Campbell High School.

He is currently a P.E. teacher at Phillips Elementary.

Raper is starting his 18th year as a coach, including time spent as the assistant coach for the Bobcats’ baseball team as well as head coaching jobs at Phillips.

He has been head baseball coach, head girl’s basketball coach and head softball coach for the Bears/She-Bears.


What brought you to Phil Campbell?

“I got to know these kids through the youth league.

My sons [Ridge and Sage] have played in the youth league here. Coach Welborn gave me the opportunity to be the assistant coach at Phil Campbell.

The kids are great, and we have good parent support.”


What are your expectations for next season?


“We have a bunch of seniors. I hope to improve on last year, and I’d like for us to make the playoffs next season.

We have to develop some of the younger kids.

We won’t start many young kids because we’ll have six to eight seniors starting at a time.

They’re really good kids, and we have good senior leadership.

We played this summer, and we have to get better on some things, like our defense.

I hope to have a seventh and eighth grade team because we have so many of them.

That would give them a chance to improve and develop.”


Do you feel any pressure to win immediately?

“Any time you coach you have a little pressure to win.

The kids want to win and the coaches and parents want to win. I put pressure on myself to win.

We are going to work hard and outwork other people.”


Where will the team play its home games this season?


“We’re going to have our home games at the SportsPlex.

The size is appropriate, and we will get to play at home.

We played our area games at Russellville and our non-area games at Lee Sports Complex last year.

It will be nice to have our own park. We’re working on it, and we’ve got great support. I think it will be better playing here. We have a lot of parents working on this field trying to get it ready.”


Do you feel like the team will have an advantage over last season having a place to play home games?


“Yes, it could help. You always take pride in what’s yours, and this will be the first high school team to play on this field.

They take pride in taking care of it, and it will help knowing we’re here.

We can practice and play at the same place so we can get familiar with it.”

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