By Steve Williams

Brandon Roberts, Central’s newest head baseball coach, grew up in South Florida and the high school team he played on was voted No. 1 in the nation in Baseball America his junior year at ArchBishop McCarthy.

Roberts went on to have a standout playing career at Carson-Newman University and was the top assistant under C-N Head Coach Tom Griffin the past five years.

Roberts, 27, met his players at Central for the first time last Wednesday and he and his fiancée, Sara Hopkins, also were introduced to CHS fans on hand at Friday night’s football game.

Roberts played third base at Carson-Newman and earned All-SAC first team honors and the conference’s Gold Glove award.

“It’s a real good hire for the program and community,” said Griffin Friday. “It’s someone I’ve known not only as a player who played for me, but also saw how he coached with me. And I got to see on a daily basis the type of person he is more than anything.

“He’s got a servant heart mentality. He’s a hard worker. He’s passionate about the game of baseball. He’s a competitive guy. And I think those are the kind of attributes that he will bring to that program.

“He did a great job with us as a player and as a leader and certainly helped us in recruiting and the development of players as a coach.”

Roberts, who received his Master’s degree in Educational Leadership, will teach Special Ed at CHS.

He replaces non-faculty coach Dustin Plumlee, who had to resign due to his work hours changing in his regular job in sales.

Plumlee coached the short COVID-19 season and then guided the Bobcats to second place in this past spring’s District 3-AAA regular season and tournament before the team was eliminated by Farragut in the first round of the Region 2-AAA tourney.

“Dustin didn’t want to resign and we didn’t want him to resign,” said Central Athletic Director J.D. Lambert. “We were very pleased with the progress the program was making.

“We had a pool of high level candidates for the job and four or five were well qualified. Brandon’s background set him apart.”

Roberts’ position at Carson-Newman was a year-round job.

“I just got engaged recently,” he said. “My fiancée works for Knox County Schools. I left Carson-Newman to pursue something that would be on a little bit different of a schedule and just a little bit more consistent schedule for family purposes.”

Their wedding is planned for next September.