The Sherman baseball team didn’t have to go far to find its new head coach since Chris Anderson has been in the area for more than a decade and a half both in the Bearcat dugout and across the diamond in an assistant role.

Anderson gets his first opportunity to be a head coach after being hired to take over at Sherman following the departure of Justin Jennings, who took the same role at Huntsville earlier this month.

“I’m blessed they’re taking a chance on me since I don’t have head coaching experience at the high school level,” Anderson said. “I feel like all my life I’ve helped develop kids to get better. I know it will be a challenge but it’s all about hard work. There’s been some talent come through here the past 20 years.”

The last two seasons saw Anderson as an assistant softball coach for Denison, which had its best year in program history in 2019 with a school-record 21 victories and reached the region quarterfinals for the first time since 2006 and the third time overall.

“Long term it wasn’t one of those things where it had to hurry and happen,” Anderson said. “I was in a great spot and was going to have a chance to coach my daughter if I stayed with softball. (Sherman) was a great job to get. It has a great foundation in place. The fact a brand-new school is coming, with a turf facility, only added to it.”

Before arriving at Denison, he spent six years as a baseball assistant at McKinney North, where he was in charge of pitchers and catchers.

Anderson started his coaching career as an assistant for a season at Sherman in 2001 after his professional playing career came to an end.

“It was a really good program then and it’s been up and down since,” Anderson said. “Coach Jennings and I are good buddies and he answered some questions for me. I’m excited to get started.”

He then was at Frisco for three years before stepping away from that aspect of his career, becoming the co-founder of Frozen Ropes McKinney with former Sherman head coach Danny Florence in 2005. He returned to the high school coaching ranks at North in 2011.

Anderson was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 66th round in 1996 and also was in the Boston Red Sox organization as part of a four-year minor league career that ended with Amarillo of the independent Texas-Louisiana League in 1999.

He played for Murray State College for two seasons before spending his last two seasons at Southeastern Oklahoma State, including helping the program to the NAIA College World Series as a junior in 1995. The following year he led the team in home runs, splitting time as a catcher and outfielder.

Jennings went 53-59 in four seasons with an area round playoff appearance in 2017. This past spring Sherman was 11-16-2 overall and 5-10 in the 10-5A standings. The Bearcats were sixth in district play but one game out of a three-way tie for the final playoff spot with Wylie East and Princeton.

Sherman will remain in a district with Denison, Wylie East, Princeton, McKinney North and Lovejoy for the 2020 season as the UIL will conduct its next realignment in February.