Baseball coach Silk transforms program, prepares student-athletes for college success

Shirah Lister

Baseball has been in current Wilson Head Varsity Baseball Coach Jimmy Silk’s life since he was a child in Sandwich, Massachusetts, where he played as a kid.

“For whatever reason, I always had a feeling that baseball would be a part of my life,” Silk said. 

Silk went on to play collegiate baseball at George Washington University. There, his active baseball career came to an unfortunate end when he tore his labrum. Instead of abandoning the sport, he decided to start coaching at Northwest Washington Little League in 2004. “I had specific coaches growing up that were instrumental in my growth, just the way they excited me,” said Silk. “It was clear to me at an early age that I would end up coaching.”

In 2009, he took the JV coaching position at Wilson after families who had worked with him in his little league days reached out to him regarding the open position. In 2012, he took over the program and became the varsity coach.

He always tells his student athletes that while baseball is important, school should always come first. It’s coaching philosophies like that and his quirky yet disciplined style that have transformed Wilson baseball into the sport with one of the highest athletic GPAs.

“School always has to come before baseball, at all times,” Silk echoed.

In 2018, Silk was named the Washington Post All-Met Coach of the Year. That same year, the baseball team won the DCSAA state championship for the first time. “I think it’s a great reflection of our program and how far we’ve come in the past nine years… and how hard these kids have worked.” 

Silk has also been the lead in making integral capital improvements to the field, such as the bullpen, batting cage, and storage closet. With the help of the Baseball Boosters organization, the team has “piece by piece been able to build this sort of baseball community here in Fort Reno.”

Senior Collin Bosley-Smith agrees, stating that Coach Silk “turned the [baseball] program into more of a team.” 

Silk, however, considers something else to be his biggest accomplishment: the fact that this team has sent 22 students to play college baseball in the past eight years, six of which have been First Team All-Met Players. 

The goal of the team, according to Silk, is to not only field one of the most competitive and driven high school baseball teams in the area, but to also offer baseball to all students of every talent and ability. With Silk, the team has expanded to three sub teams (Varsity, JV Black, JV Green), with 45 students total. 

But Silk doesn’t credit all of this success to himself. “I’ve been very fortunate in the growth of Wilson … we’ve been very lucky in the last 5-6 years to offer an institution that provides exceptional academic opportunities … and to provide one of the best [baseball] programs in the Mid-Atlantic.”

His advice to baseball players of the past, present, and future? “Show up early, leave late, and you will be successful.”