Ryan White was named the Falcons' new baseball coach Monday night following a vote at the Cornwall-Lebanon School Board meeting. The 28-year-old had been a varsity assistant under former head coach Chris Groff for the past three seasons and has been with the program in some capacity since 2008.
The 2003 Crest grad also played his final year of varsity baseball in South Lebanon during what was Groff's initial year with the program.
"I'm excited to get things going with the guys," White said. "There's some new guys who are gonna have to step up and just really get going."
This coming spring's Falcon team will be without 10 seniors, including pitching aces Logan Fullmer and Dan Black plus most of its offensive firepower from a year ago. That group helped Cedar Crest go 61-15 during the last three seasons, which included a pair of District Three championships and one Lancaster-Lebanon League title.
"I'm losing the experience and the depth," White said. "That just means more guys stepping up and the seniors taking leadership roles that they haven't had before."
White said his style of coaching will depend on what kind of team he has under him.
"Me, personally, I was never a big power hitter," he said. "I just want us to play fundamentally sound, defensively and offensively.
"It depends on the type of players we have. If we have big hitters, we're gonna let them swing away. We'll have to be able to adjust kinda on the fly."
All told, Groff has taken the Falcons to six straight district tournaments and had just one losing season in his 10 springs in South Lebanon. He compiled a 135-81 record for a .625 winning percentage before stepping down after the team's final district playoff game in June, citing a desire to spend more time with his family as the main reason for walking away.
It leaves someone with big shoes to fill, but White doesn't see it that way.
"I'm not looking to fill his shoes," he said. "Obviously, there will be expectations. I'm kinda looking to create my own name and build off of what I learned from him."
That being said, White admitted that Groff's style in some areas has rubbed off on him.
"His attention to detail," he said when asked of what he has taken from watching Groff coach. "His preparation and organization."
After graduating from Cedar Crest in '03, White went on to play college baseball for four years at Elizabethtown College. Upon leaving E-town, White was a volunteer assistant back at Crest in 2008, and the next spring he was a junior varsity assistant.
That led to his three-year stint in the varsity dugout beside Groff.
Now, White has a seat of his own on that bench in South Lebanon.