the student newspaper of Shorewood High School

The Tempest

the student newspaper of Shorewood High School

The Tempest

the student newspaper of Shorewood High School

The Tempest

Tonkin keeps it fun

Beloved baseball coach earns and gives respect
by Tyler Sanders

He lived “The Sandlot” life: chores in the morning then onto his bike and off to the field to play ball all day. His dad coached him and his little brother. You could say that baseball is in Coach Wyatt Tonkin’s blood. 

“You had a bike, and a bat, and a ball, and a glove. That’s all we needed,” said Tonkin, head coach of varsity baseball and assistant coach for football. Tonkin has coached at Shorewood for 25 years, becoming a staple at the school in the process. 

During the three and a half years he played in the minor leagues for the Atlanta Braves some Hall of Fame players coached him. Hank Aaron was one of them telling him, “The game is hard enough on its own, don’t make it harder,” and how they could simplify the game. Although Tonkin was starstruck at the time he took, that advice with him and uses it to this day. 

Tonkin also learned a lot from other coaches he had in the minor leagues. But he also learned from some of the assistant coaches at Shorewood, like his brother Shea, who Tonkin says, “was probably a far better coach than I ever dream of being.”

Tonkin’s always up to learning new coaching techniques to better himself and his team. “No matter how much you think you know it all, you can still learn,” Tonkin said. He’s inspired by observing other coaches at Shorewood.

Forging a relationship between a coach and a player is one of the hardest things when coaching sports, especially when it comes to high school sports. One way that Tonkin connects with his players is to encourage them to be multi-sport athletes and to be involved in the things they like. “Whether it’s drama, or art, or whatever. Go do it,” said Tonkin. Senior and varsity catcher Noah Fahey says Tonkin’s connection to his players is strong. “Coach Tonkin has provided me with the best baseball experience over the last four years. From endless laughs to being in close competitive games, he never fails to bring excitement and a ruthless coaching style.”

Another way that Tonkin earns the love and respect of his players is by showing them respect in return. While being serious at times, Tonkin also cracks jokes with his team to keep things light-hearted and fun. Keeping things fun is key to Tonkin’s style of coaching. Making sure the team has fun every day while playing is one of the things he values most about the game of baseball. “The umpire always yells, ‘Play ball,’ not, ‘Work ball,’” says Tonkin.

Tonkin is always learning and perfecting his coaching style, which may be why he has been so successful as the head coach for Shorewood baseball. Tonkin grows with his players every year and thrives on seeing them succeed not only in that year’s season but also in life. “Over the course of 25 years, my coaching style has really changed. Times have changed. And you either bend with the breeze or you break. Hopefully, they leave and they remember that I tried the best I could to help them in becoming a better human, a better man, and a better athlete.”

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About the Contributors
Hayden Kelly
Hayden Kelly, Staff
I'm Hayden, she/her, staff reporter. This is my first year on the newspaper. I joined because I've always loved writing and I feel that writing for the newspaper will expand my horizons
Tyler Sanders
Tyler Sanders, Staff
I'm Tyler Sanders. First year staff reporter. I like newspaper because it's a group of people all working together towards one finished product. I joined because I wanted to write articles not essays.

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