When Mark Low announced he was stepping down as Ponder’s head baseball coach in May, the Lions found themselves in unfamiliar territory.
Low, who had been Ponder’s skipper since 1998, led the Lions to state tournament appearances in 2004 and 2009. After more than two decades of guiding Ponder on numerous deep playoff runs, athletic director Bill Savell knew he needed to find a replacement who had a history of winning.
Savell found his man in Brian McBeth, who was hired as Ponder’s new head coach at the district’s June school board meeting.
Most recently the head coach at Chico — a 2A school in neighboring Wise County — McBeth led the Dragons to a 27-3-1 record in 2016 that included a trip to the regional quarterfinal.
“He had great success there,” Savell said. “The thing that I liked about him is everywhere he had been, he had success. He’ll bring an energy to the program and [he has] some skins on the wall at a school of our size.”
McBeth is entering his 18th year of coaching, with past stops at Paradise and Lampasas. He compiled a 123-64-5 record in seven seasons at Chico, winning 64 percent of his games.
The Dragons made the playoffs in five of McBeth’s seven seasons, claiming two district titles.
“To me, success is just putting in a program of your core beliefs — things you will live and die for — and standing behind them,” McBeth said. “If kids know that you care, you can get them to do almost anything. They’ll run through a wall for you.”
In addition to leading the baseball program, McBeth will also serve as an assistant football coach.
McBeth inherits a Ponder team that went 11-14-1 in 2019. The Lions finished fourth in District 9-3A and fell to eventual Region II champion Van Alstyne in the bi-district round.
Ponder had two players — Connor Spivey and Cameron Clark — named to the 9-3A first team last season. Caden Dolittle, Logan Ivy and Bryce Brockett were second team picks.
“I’m excited and happy to be here,” McBeth said. “[Ponder] is a great place to be.
“My mentality is build off what [Low] has already established, continue the good things he has done and add my own little bit to it. Like my philosophy was at Chico, [I want to] leave [the program] better than I found it.”