The Wilson Beacon

Willard Polston’s ambitious excursion from Austin

Noah Gross

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Discovering a passion can take a lifetime. But for Willard Polston, all it took was one swing of a bat at age four. Today, Willard Polston, known to his players as Coach Trey, is one of Wilson’s most beloved baseball coaches.  

From ages four to 12, Polston played Little League baseball in Austin, Texas. In those nine years, Polston was able to play every position on the diamond, third base being his favorite.

The next chapter in his baseball story came at Crockett High School, where he was a four-year varsity player. As a freshman and sophomore, Polston primarily played second and third base. After his sophomore year, he set a huge goal. “I had real ambitions of playing in college.” These ambitions were matched by fierce motivation, as Polston spent much of that summer working to become an ace pitcher.

As a junior, Polston began showing flashes of excellence, namely an 85 mile-per-hour fastball and a show-stopping slider. His fantastic play carried on throughout his senior year and he earned the opportunity to play in college.

Polston played one year at Ranger Junior College, one year at Eastern New Mexico State, and one year at Sul Ross State University. Scouts of a local professional team were impressed by his play. “I had an opportunity to play professionally with the Alpine Cowboys, but I decided to pursue a coaching career,” he said.

After turning down the Cowboys, Polston returned to Austin and started his coaching career with a program called Hill Country Baseball. Initially he coached younger kids, but he eventually worked his way up to coaching high schoolers.

When his girlfriend (now wife) received a scholarship from American University, he moved with her to DC. A new location would not change Polston’s passion for baseball and he  got involved with Home Run Baseball Camp, a youth camp run by Wilson Alum John McCarthy. When Polston expressed his desire to coach high school students, McCarthy contacted Wilson Head Coach Jimmy Silk, who hired Polston as the pitching coach.

In addition to helping Wilson pitchers perfect their craft, Polston maintains the field everyday while the players are in school, and provides strength and conditioning workouts for everyone in the baseball program. However, Polston believes his greatest influence is teaching the importance of a strong work ethic. Polston said, “If we work hard, are on time and give our maximum effort, we can succeed.”

Partnering with Matthew Stedman, a varsity assistant coach, Polston took over the fall and summer baseball program called Moose. The players in the Moose program are predominantly Wilson students or middle schoolers who plan to attend Wilson. His program impacts players greatly, as they “get to play together, get consistent coaching year round, and they hear my voice from September 1 all the way back to September 1,” said Polston.

As Polston continues to follow his passion, he is making an impact on the Wilson baseball program. Junior pitcher Seth Kahler said “Coach Trey does the most for the Wilson baseball program.” •

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Willard Polston’s ambitious excursion from Austin