Acting quickly after determining head coach Ray Smith will not be returning to the South Medford baseball program, Panthers athletic director Tim Rupp announced Friday that the school has hired Arizona native Josh Moody as its new head coach.
Moody comes to Medford after spending the past two seasons as pitching coach at his alma mater, Sandra Day O’Connor High School. He previously served as pitching coach at Western Nevada College in 2013-14 and managed and played for the Cologne Cardinals German Professional Baseball Club in 2015.
As a left-handed pitcher, Moody also played two seasons at Western Nevada (2008-09) and then Arizona State (2010-11).
The hiring process lasted only two weeks as the school sought to replace Smith, who guided South Medford to its first conference title in 14 years this past spring and a state runner-up showing in 2010.
Smith was recently removed from his duties after a Medford School District investigation stemming from a May 8 incident in which he admitted to consuming alcohol prior to a game.
“Obviously we wanted to put somebody in place as soon as possible,” said Rupp, “and even though Josh is not in town at the moment, just having that person in place was very important to us.”
“We felt like we had a very strong candidate pool,” added Rupp, “but he sort of stuck out above the rest.”
This will be Moody’s first turn in guiding his own high school program but he’s looking forward to the opportunity. South Medford finished 22-5 overall and 18-0 in Southwest Conference play this past season, losing in the second round of the Class 6A state playoffs despite its No. 2 seeding.
“I’m excited,” said Moody, who turns 30 on Oct. 9. “They did great this past season with some really good players. There were a lot of seniors but it’s definitely a great program I’m happy to be a part of.”
“They had a season that obviously ended a little bit abruptly from the few people I’ve talked to because they were hoping to go deeper in the playoffs,” he added, “but it’s definitely a great platform to move forward as we continue to build a successful program.”
The opportunity came at the perfect time for Moody, who was already in the process of trying to move closer to his wife Amanda’s stomping grounds in Shively, California — in Humboldt County — with their twin 2-year-olds.
“We were planning on moving to Medford anyways,” said Moody, who works out of his home as a Nationwide Insurance claims adjuster. “We had started that process when a few college teammates I played with (at Western Nevada) and some I coached that are from the area reached out to me and told me about the position. They thought I’d be a good fit for it so I applied and fortunately I got the job.”
Among others, former North Medford standout Logan Odom was one of Moody’s teammates and close friends, and Phoenix’s Jordan Lewis was one of his players during his stint as pitching coach.
Moody said he first went through an interview via Skype while in Arizona, then was nearby at his wife’s family reunion when he landed a second interview and was able to be in Medford Tuesday and Wednesday.
“It was actually perfect because we were in the area when the interview process was going on,” he said. “It’s definitely been a whirlwind of a couple weeks.”
“My wife and I fell in love with Southern Oregon when we first came and visited,” added Moody. “The baseball job just kind of cemented it all.”
Moody, who was first-team all-state in baseball and swimming in high school, said he’s in the process of putting his Phoenix home up for sale and will likely finalize his move to Medford in late August or early September.