Little League Coach Retiring After 38 Years in Aniwa

By: Liz Hayes Email
By: Liz Hayes Email

It's not every day you find a coach who is truly dedicated.

But that's exactly what the tiny community of Aniwa, located just south of Antigo in Shawano County, has found in Coach Jim Vaughn.

And now they must let him go.

Generations of players of the Aniwa little league team can only call one man 'Coach.'

"I just live and breathe baseball, it's always been a big part of my life and there's such wonderful parents and players we're just like one happy family here," Jim Vaughn said.

The community has never had a coach so dedicated to America's favorite past-time, and those who play it.

"Besides he's my great uncle, pretty sad cuz I won't be able to see him as much," said Johnny Noble, 13, who plays first base.

But Vaughn says it's time to go.

"I feel kinda bad really, but you know when it's time."

"Just a mentor. The guy teaches you the game, gives you an opportunity to play, it's about sportsmanship, it's about teamwork, it's about playing together," said Matt Converse, who currently coaches the B team.

Converse, who played himself for Vaughn back in the mid-eighties, will be the new head coach.

"You talk about some big shoes to fill, the guy's probably forgotten more than I'll ever know so to say it's big shoes to fill, that's an understatement," he said.

But Coach Vaughn, who's strived to use positive encouragement with his players and let everyone play, won't be far.

"It's gonna be hard. I know it's gonna be really hard at first, but I still wanna be involved a little bit," Vaughn said.

Now the most dedicated coach turns into the most dedicated fan.

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