BY STEVE KRAH
As a high school educator, Tyler Graybeal sees his job as getting his students ready for what comes after school while enjoying their time in it.
That explains the points of emphasis for the head baseball coach at Central Noble Junior/Senior High School in Albion, Ind.
“It’s not wins and losses, it’s doing the right thing,” says Graybeal, who enters his second season of leading the Cougars in 2020 (he was an assistant to Jim Sickafoose in 2018). “We’re preparing them for the next step in life. We want them to have a good time and get better at baseball.”
Graybeal, who teaches Geometry during the school day, has been conducting limited contact sessions twice a week and is pleased with the turnout of high schoolers and middle schoolers.
“We had 17 the past two fall workouts,” says Graybeal, who is also an assistant football coach at Central Noble working with linebackers and wide receivers and serving as junior varsity defensive coordinator. “We have a scrimmage once a week. We’ve set up a mentoring system so the older players can learn to be role models.”
The high school’s feeder program is a league run through Albion Parks with fields at Hidden Diamonds Park and Valleyview Park.
Graybeal, who had 28 players in the entire high school program last spring, says a young 2019-20 squad includes junior Dylan Eggl and senior Nate Burr among its top players. Eggl is power hitter, shortstop and right-handed pitcher. Burr, a transfer from Westview High School, is 6-foot-6 and 250 pounds and is a righty pitcher and first baseman. Both are undecided about college.
A graduate of Crestview High School in Ashland, Ohio, Graybeal got his college degree from the University of Mount Union in Alliance, Ohio, where he briefly played baseball. An insurance job brought him to Fort Wayne and then he decided to go into education and coaching.
When he first came to Central Noble, Graybeal was a coach for all high school seasons — football, basketball and baseball. His wife, Elizabeth, insisted that he cut back on that load so basketball was dropped. The couple has a 5-year-old son named Draven and are expecting a second child in January.
At a small school like Central Noble (enrollment around 440), multi-sport athletes are the expectation.
“I encourage my kids to play another sport,” says Graybeal. “You’ve got to be a well-rounded athlete.
“That’s why I coach multiple sports so I see those kids as much as I can and work with them.”
Also working with the baseball players is a coaching staff that features JV head coach Shane Austrap and assistants Justin Stump, Max Smith and Jared Shishler.
Since taking over the Cougars on the diamond, Graybeal and others have worked to improve the home field. Sod has been cut, dugouts have been painted and there’s plenty more to do. An August fundraiser — a coed slow pitch softball tournament — will help with the upgrades.
Central Noble is a member of the Northeast Corner Conference (with Angola, Churubusco, Eastside, Fairfield, Fremont, Garrett, Hamilton, Lakeland, Prairie Heights, West Noble and Westview).
The first NECC Home Run Derby originally slated for May has been moved to 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 3 at Lakeland.
The Cougars are part of an IHSAA Class 2A sectional grouping with Bremen, Fairfield, LaVille, Prairie Heights and Westview. Central Noble has won three sectional titles — 2009, 2010 and 2012.
The 2019 Central Noble High School baseball team. It was the first one with Tyler Graybeal as head coach.
Tyler Graybeal is head baseball coach at Central Noble Junior/Senior High School in Albion, Ind. He also assists in football and teaches Geometry. He is a graduate of Crestview High School and the University of Mount Union — both in Ohio.