Andy McClain leaves Norwell High School baseball coaching job for Lawrence Central

Norwell baseball coach Andy McClain talks with player Josh VanMeter after VanMeter reached third during the 2013 Class 3A Bellmont Regional. (News-Sentinel.com file photo)

One of the most highly regarded high school baseball coaching jobs in the state has opened up with Norwell’s Andy McClain leaving to take over at Indianapolis Lawrence Central.

McClain, 49, arrived at Norwell in 2013, leading the team to the 2013 Class 3A state championship. He also coached the Knights to 2014 and 2017 sectional titles and 2015 and 2018 conference titles.

“There’s a bit of a heavy heart, for sure, leaving Norwell and such great kids – students and athletes,” McClain said. “There’s great people there, a great program. What a tremendous opportunity and I’ll be forever grateful.”

The move allows McClain to coach closer to his daughter MacKenzie, who can see the Lawrence Central baseball diamond from her apartment complex, and his father Rocky, who lives in Martinsville.

“It’s time to get back closer to home and family and it’s a great opportunity there,” McClain said. “It’s a 4A program and the leadership is tremendous there.”

McClain took over the Norwell program in 2013 and coached a team with nine returning starters. The Knights finished 33-3 with a 2-1 title win over Jasper. The group was led by Josh VanMeter, who was drafted by the San Diego Padres and currently plays for Class AAA Louisville in the Cincinnati Reds organization.

“Their family just kind of adopted me in from Day 1, and they were so good to me,” McClain said. “Josh and I immediately connected and he was one of the first people to text me (when news broke of McClain leaving for Lawrence Central).”

McClain said he also had a deep affinity for the 2014 team, which exceeded outsiders’ expectations.

“2013 was hard to top. That was a lot of fun,” McClain said. “That 2014 sectional champion team with nine new starters, that was awful fun, too.”

McClain also led the Knights to a 2017 sectional title and shares of the 2015 Northeast Hoosier Conference title and 2018 Northeast 8 Conference title. He led Indianapolis Brebeuf to a state runnerup finish in 2012 before taking the Norwell job.

“A lot of things were in order when I got to Norwell, but it was fun to keep it going and keep that tradition going, no question,” McClain said. “I have some tremendous memories. It’s bittersweet to leave, for sure.”

McClain’s state title was the third for Norwell, which is tied for eighth-most all time. The Knights won the state championship in 2003 and 2007 under Kelby Weybright, the school’s current athletic director.

Weybright said Norwell hopes to have a new coach in place as soon as possible.

“(Lawrence Central) got a great coach and we wish Andy nothing but the best,” Weybright said. “We’ll work the process to fill those shoes. We feel we have a pretty strong tradition and we want to make sure we’re getting someone who recognizes and understands the community puts a lot of value in that position.”

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