James “Feenie” Carter, a Yorktown baseball legend, has been coaching off and on since 1982 around the Peninsula.
On Tuesday, Bruton Athletic Director Richard Onesty announced Carter as the new head baseball coach for the Panthers.
Carter, a retired sheriff’s deputy of 32 years with the York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Department, spent last season as an assistant coach for the Bruton baseball team and was awarded the position after Phil Houston resigned from the role to spend more time with his family.
A fan of working on the fundamentals, Carter will take over a Bruton team that was in the midst of a 52-game Bay Rivers District losing streak last season and finished with a 2-18 record.
With a new coach in place, cleaning up the fundamentals will be crucial for the Bruton baseball team.
“A lot of times we lost games because of the fundamentals,” Carter said. “We’ve got to work with the kids. They’re willing to work hard, but it won’t happen overnight.”
The Bruton baseball players would be well off to listen to instruction from Carter who knows a thing or two about being successful on the baseball diamond.
A 1977 graduate of York High School, Carter became the first freshman to start for the Falcons’ baseball team. In his first year at York, Carter led the AAA league in batting average.
As a player on the Yorktown Post 165 American Legion baseball team, Carter broke numerous records and still holds the record for most hits and runs scored in a season.
Carter said his coaching style of “fair, but firm.”
Enjoying the game is a big part of Carter’s coaching philosophy, as he does not believe winning has to come at the cost of not having fun.
“Baseball is a fun game,” he said. “If you get the right kids and attitude, you can make it fun. We can have fun and get the job done all at once.”