Goals have been met and a career accomplished for baseball coach Steve Gardner, who will retire from the baseball program here after 18 years of coaching on a variety of levels.
"The people here have been outstanding," he said. "We have a beautiful facility now, and we are a Division 1 team, which has been my goal as a coach. When you start coaching in high school, you want to get as far as you can."
After playing pro baseball, Gardner decided to take his talents to others and teach the sport through coaching. He took a job in Ogden as a junior high football and baseball coach and from there began climbing the ladder of his profession.
"I have had that opportunity to coach on all three levels: high school, junior college, and Division 1," he said.
He was in Bonneville High School’s baseball program as head coach for eight years before moving down to central Utah, where he was head coach and athletic director for Snow College. He ended up at UVSC and will finish up strong.
Coach Gardner made a large contribution to the school when he helped aid the baseball program’s move forward into D-1 status five years ago.
"The school had to buy in on the program," said Gardner. "We (the team) had to step up to that level, and that is what this school has done."
In fact, last season provided the best record the team has had.
With 25 wins, it was a large improvement from the team’s first season since moving up from junior college competition. This year has been a different story; facing harsh weather conditions, the team hasn’t had much practice time and has started with a rocky 1-7.
Gardner says the change will come with "improvement everyday in practice," and will provide a little more experience for the younger players. Defense is this team’s underlining attribute. "Our defense," he said, "there’s not a lot of mistakes."
Eric Madsen, who has been an assistant head coach at the school since 2004, will take over as the new head coach when Gardner retires.
"It’s all about the love of the game," said Gardner. "I’ve always said you want to surround yourself with good people."