Baseball Coach of the Year: Brooks Norris, Archbishop Curley

Norris began his job in the fall by working on the playing field — shoveling in dirt, rebuilding the mound and watering the infield every day as if he knew it would bloom in the spring. When the season came, the first-year coach delivered a familiar message to his team: Baseball is simple — don't complicate it.

"He was committed to the program from the day he got the job," Curley athletic director Bill Dawson said. "Every day he'd show up and work on the field. I really think because he was an alumnus and had been on several championship teams here [baseball and ice hockey] that he had a feel for what it would take and instilled that desire in these kids."

Norris preached fundamentals and physical and mental preparation, believing that would change the Friars' culture and help the players grow a winning attitude. It worked. Curley went from 10-15 a year ago to 19-12. Going through the winners' bracket, the Friars reached the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference final for the first time since 2001, when Norris was a senior.

"The hardest thing was getting the kids used to how my dad [assistant coach Tim Norris] and I do things," Norris, 28, said. "When you do something wrong, we let you know. Not to be negative, but to be constructive. It may seem like nitpicking, but I'm a perfectionist. If you want to be a championship-caliber team, you have to get all those little things right. The guys bought in."

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