BY SHAIN GILLET
Clipper Sports Editor
BOUNTIFUL — Tuesday afternoon at Viewmont High School was an exciting, somber time for the Vikings’ baseball team.
Having beaten the Granger Lancers 2-0 in their final home game of the season, it was also the final home game of Roger Farnesworth’s coaching career. The coach of the Vikings for the past 20-plus seasons will be stepping down from his post after the 2013 campaign.
“I’m proud of the fact that a lot of our players have been able to go on and play either in college or as a professional,” said Farnesworth. “The most important thing about being a coach is building the relationships. I’ve had more than my share of great experiences and relationships with the players.”
Farnesworth will leave behind a legacy that’s been unmatched by previous coaches in his position. He built the team and the field from the ground up. When he started his coaching career, the fencing “was only about a foot off the ground, and there was just a wooden bench without dugouts” for the players to sit on, he said.
“I’ve been part of the construction of everything here. (We had) no outfield fence, an all-grass infield and no dugouts,” he said. “No clubhouse, no batting cages, no bullpen. About the only thing here that’s been here longer than me is the backstop.”
While building and improving on the field, he also improved the team’s overall play. In his coaching career, Farnesworth will be remembered for winning numerous region titles and making deep playoff runs; however, his crowning achievement was the winning of eight straight Region 1 titles from 2004 to 2011.
“It shows that this community likes baseball,” he said. “We’ve definitely had some powerhouse teams, and I’m really proud of the fact we’ve dominated Region 1 for so many years.”
After the game, Farnesworth and assistant coach Jay Crook, who is also retiring, were honored with jerseys and presented with other gifts as players from past and present appeared in the Vikings’ final home game.
Farnesworth was hugged by every member of this year’s team, and said afterward it all came as a surprise to him.
“I really wasn’t expecting this to happen,” he said. “It’s all kind of sprung on me and surprised me a little. But I’m happy about my career and I’m proud of what this team, this school, and this program has been able to do over the years.”
Although the tribute was a welcome one, Farnesworth’s career isn’t quite finished. The team had one more game against Granger on Wednesday, and has already qualified for the 5A state baseball tournament, starting next week.
“I wouldn’t want to play us in the first or second round,” he said. “We’re really on a roll and have got a couple seniors coming back from injuries that will be a big help to this team. We’re going to be tough to beat; that’s for certain.”
Overall, however, Farnesworth said whomever steps in to coach next year’s team will have inherited “a great program.”
“I feel like it’s time to hand it over to somebody else and let them run with it,” he said. “I feel real good about where this team is, so it’s a good time for me to leave.”