Jeremy Schmidt is counting on his Sarasota Sailor pedigree to help revive the Booker High baseball program.
The 33-year-old was announced Monday as the new head coach of the Tornadoes, replacing Chris Hutchinson, who was relieved of his duties last month after going 8-58-1 in three seasons.
"I've been (in Sarasota) my whole life," Schmidt said, "and I'm just looking forward to get this program built and see what we can do with the athletes in this school."
Schmidt has playing experience at nearly every level. After graduating from Sarasota High in 1999, the right-handed pitcher attended State College of Florida for a year.
In 2000 Schmidt was drafted by the Giants in the 37th round, but did not sign. Instead, he attended College of Charleston (S.C.), where he played for John Pawlowski, now the head coach at Auburn.
Following a season with the Cougars, Schmidt was signed by Sarasota-based scout Paul Turco as a free agent with the Giants.
In five years (2002-06) with the Giants and Reds, Schmidt advanced as high as the Double-A Southern League, posting a career record of 7-19 with a 4.13 ERA.
In 2008 he joined Cardinal Mooney, first as its junior varsity head coach, then as an assistant on the varsity squad.
Most recently, Schmidt managed a Little League team of 11-year-olds. It won its district and starts sectional play Saturday in Venice.
He'll have his hands full with the Tornadoes, who snapped a 54-game losing streak last season.
"The energy me and my staff has," Schmidt said, "we're going to come in and coach these kids up like we know how to coach them.
"Break it down right from the beginning. It's fundamentals — we're going to teach them to play the game the right way."
Besides playing for Clyde Metcalf at Sarasota, Schmidt learned under Tim Hill with the Lancers.
"Just the coaches I played for and getting knowledge out of all of those guys," he said. "I learned a lot, just the way you run a simple little practice can go a long ways if you just do the right things."