Lasher accepts ‘a really good opportunity’April 28, 2020
BY JONATHAN SAXON
OAKLAND CITY — A familiar face in baseball is getting called up for a promising opportunity a little ways up the road. Former Dubois County Bombers coach Andy Lasher accepted the head coaching job for Oakland City University’s baseball team earlier this month and is excited for the chance to keep working in the sport he’s been passionate about his entire life.
“Baseball has been my life since I was a little kid,” said Lasher, who went 122-63 and won two Ohio Valley League championships in five seasons with the Bombers. “We had a good time and won a lot of baseball games. It was a lot of fun being there.”
Lasher remembers always consuming baseball every chance he got when the season was in full swing. He called MLB Hall of Famer Tony LaRussa one of his idols, and spent countless hours watching the St. Louis Cardinals, analyzing every facet of the game along the way. It helped train his mind early to see the game in a different way.
“You see the game a lot differently from left field than you do as a coach,” Lasher said. “I like to think I had a little bit of a head start. I watched Cardinals games religiously, and it’s something you do in your head when you’re watching the game at home. But it’s a different feeling when you get to call the shots.”
Lasher got his start in college baseball playing at Olney Central College in 2010, and finished his career at the University of Southern Indiana in 2013. He went back to Olney in the fall of 2013 for his first taste of coaching, and Lasher’s connection with the Bombers came shortly thereafter.
“I walked into the office one day and coach (Dennis) Conley told me he was going to have me coach that summer with the Bombers,” he said. “Wes (Fink) was searching for someone to help him that year. I’m sure him and Conley talked, and [Conley] told him that would be something I’d be interested in doing. It was brought to me before I brought myself to it.”
Lasher had heard a bit about the Bombers beforehand, and knew a couple of guys who’d played in the Ohio Valley League. But it was only after arriving in Huntingburg that he fully understood the rich tradition and fan support the Bombers drew to League Stadium in the summer. He also said the college kids he got to work with every season went a long way towards making the summers equal parts fun and productive.
“I had no idea it was as big as it was,” he admitted. “The fans are amazing. I was lucky being there. I had a lot of really good kids that could contain themselves, and there was a mutual respect there between themselves and myself.”
Lasher served as the Bombers’ assistant coach for the 2014 season before getting promoted to head coach the following year. He then took a position as the hitting coach at Eastern Illinois University in the fall of 2018 before going back to Southern Indiana as an assistant coach. Word came around that T-Ray Fletcher, Oakland City’s former baseball coach, was getting promoted to athletic director, which created a coaching vacancy for the first time in 25 seasons at the school. Eagles coach Tracy Archuleta encouraged Lasher to pursue the opportunity.
“He knew this would be a really good opportunity for me,” said Lasher, who interviewed for the job in early March and was forced to wait on the offer because of the coronavirus delaying the process. “I heard that T-Ray was going to become the AD, and I jumped at the chance. I had some of his players for the Bombers, and it was something I knew I couldn’t pass up.”
Lasher said it’s a bit strange walking into the job with the COVID-19 pandemic leaving so many things up in the air, but he’s looking forward to the freedom of running the program, and hopes to create a hard-nosed, consistent brand of baseball the fans can enjoy.
“Playing hard and smart, those are the things you can control,” he said. “That’s something I want my team to have, those sort of characteristics.”
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