St. and #8200;Helens grad given first head coaching job
Randy Voght, one of St. Helens High School's most accomplished ball players, has been named the new head baseball coach.
Voght, 51, is a 1978 St. Helens High graduate. He played baseball under coach Tom Niebergall, the coach of the Lions' first championship team, and was first-team all state.
'This is the dream I've been waiting for ever since I coached my first game,' Voght said.
Voght played softball for many years after high school, first on some local teams, then on some national major teams. He was on teams that won two national championships and 10 state championships.
He gave up softball over 10 years ago and has been coaching with some of the state's top coaches since then. Most recently he was a coach at Sunset High under head coach Brian Sullivan. He was the jayvee coach at Century, and has been involved with Junior State teams at Hillsboro, Glencoe and Liberty.
Voght takes over the reins from coach Tim Lokken, who died from illness this past spring. They were classmates and played on softball teams together.
'I'm going to talk to the kids,' Voght said. 'I'm going to tell them I grew up with Tim and appreciate what he did for the program. We owe it to him to do the right thing and move on.'
He also wants to talk to the team about an incident last spring that resulted in seven players being suspended. 'The choices that we make create our own destiny. Our destiny is our choice. If we make the right choices, we'll be okay. We can't leave destiny to chance.'
Voght doesn't plan to insinuate himself into the summer program immediately. He said he'd talk with the coaches, and hang out to get familiar with the players.
He said his first priority is to see what fundraising can be done to revive the freshman program that is scheduled to be cut this next season. A coaches meeting was slated on Tuesday to see what the fundraising possibilities are. The freshman program was dropped this year with the player suspensions, and failure of a levy resulted in the cutting the freshman program next year and beyond. He would also like to see some improvements made to the field, regarding drainage, and perhaps including lighting.
As most new coaches do, Voght will be looking to build a new staff, mostly of unpaid volunteers.
Voght had a chance to apply as a head coach for some 5A positions this spring, but his heart was in coming back to his alma mater. 'It's been my goal to come back to St. Helens. I think they need my help,' he said.
He is currently the manager of Sawyer Pointe Apartments in Scappoose, so it's not a long commute to St. Helens. 'I really want to thank Canyon Properties for allowing me the time to be coach,' he said.
The St. Helens High baseball program had a tough year with everything that happened and it showed up on the field. Voght believes things can be turned around fairly quickly. He just may be the guy to do it, too.