WEST MADISON — Boone County Schools has named Kris Barrett as the new baseball coach for Scott High School after the retirement of former skipper Brett Kuhn.
“The timing was right for me and I’m exciting to carry on many of the things that Coach Kuhn established for the program,” said Barrett.
Barrett, 31, a 2007 SHS graduate who wore a Skyhawk uniform and later played multiple positions for Garrett College (Maryland) said that his familiarity with the program as an assistant under Kuhn will help in the transition.
“I do think it helps because I know the kids and I understand what challenges we face moving forward,” he said. “We’ve seen recent success and that gives us a solid base. Brett built a solid program. He and the coaches before I was even there built it up. One thing I admire about him was he wasn’t afraid to ask the opinion of his coaching staff. He was ultimately going to make the decision but tapping into the experience of his staff was something he took advantage of, to his credit.”
Next to the Class A State Champion Softball squad of Sherman Coach Jim Henderson, the Skyhawk baseball team were the winningest team sport in Boone County in 2019.
As the skipper for the Skyhawks, Kuhn went 128-85, with his teams winning three Class AA sectional titles, a regional title and — in his best season in 2019 — he led the squad to the West Virginia State Baseball Tournament and finished No. 3 in final rankings.
The cupboard is far from bare for Barrett, but he’s realistic about the fact that he’s lost four seniors for last season to collegiate baseball in Carter Lyles, Nathan Kuhn, Isaac Miller and Peyton Brown.
Barrett makes his living at the Boone County Emergency Management Agency as a 911 dispatcher and also serves a substitute teacher with Boone County Schools. He is currently working on his masters degree and will then seek a position as a full-time, certified teacher in the school system.
Barrett has coached ASA softball in the past and once produced a podcast for Skyhawk baseball where he served as an announcer for the games.
“I just talked to Brett four or five years ago and told him I wanted to help out with the team as a coach,” he said. “I’ve been there ever since and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.”
Barrett has primarily served as an infield coach for the team but as is the case in all prep sports, coaches help out when and where they are needed.
“We have a great group of coaches and the joke has always been that we had more coaches than players but we have kind of taken ownership of that and I don’t think you can have too many good people wanted to help the kids out,” he said. “I do understand why people think it is funny though.”
From a coaching perspective, the Skyhawks will add Shawn Miller as a pitching coach, Aaron Cook will take over the infield duties and Justin Chafin will volunteer as a coach where he is needed.
Barrett said that his coaching style is based on accountability and putting the betterment of the team at the forefront.
“It may be cliché but to be coaching is about building character in young men and I believe that is true,” he said. “You are judged by your wins and losses. One thing Coach Kuhn was all about was preparing these guys for life beyond Scott High School and I want to continue that. You want to become the best baseball player you can be but ultimately, you want to be a man that can be relied on and trusted in your community.”
Barrett said that continuing a strong fundraising effort for the squad is something he has already started working on.
“We definitely want to continue that and we’ve been working on a bingo to benefit the baseball team,” he said. I want our guys to give back to the community as well so there will be projects going on that you will see Scott High School baseball associated with. We have a really great group of student-athletes that are eager to do good things and I intend to promote and support that.”