A Familiar Name (Jeff Plympton Jr.) is the New Baseball Coach at KP

Ken Hamwey Staff Sports Writer
Coach Jeff Plympton, Jr.
Issue Date: 
February, 2020
Article Body: 

A familiar face has taken the head-coaching reins of King Philip’s varsity baseball team.
Jeff Plympton Jr., who played two seasons for the Warriors before graduating in 2011, has replaced Eric Kessler, who guided the squad for the last two years.
The Plympton name is well-known in the towns that KP serves. Plympton’s father, Jeff Sr., not only competed for the Warriors, but he also excelled at the University of Maine before playing a season for the Boston Red Sox. Jeff Sr. is a Plainville native who is Wrentham’s Director of Recreation.
Jeff Jr. followed in his dad’s footsteps at KP and was a valuable cog for coach Ed Moran’s teams. Plympton hit .320 his senior year, and while playing second base, he committed only four errors in two full seasons. His senior year was also productive when it came to winning post-season honors. He was chosen KP’s unsung hero and captured the team’s offensive award.
Plympton was hired to coach KP after two interviews, emerging as the top candidate from a crowded field of applicants. Although one of his goals is to get the Warriors back into the playoffs after a two-year absence, he’s acutely aware that other factors have to be in the mix.
“Our key objectives are to improve daily and to take each game one at a time,’’ Plympton emphasized. “That approach should lead to a playoff berth. And, we also want to compete and contend for the Kelly-Rex Division title in the Hockomock League.’’
Plympton’s goals are basic but they’re also deeply rooted in his philosophy of competing and coaching. “I want our players to be fundamentally prepared and aware of all aspects of the game,’’ he said. “What’s important is that our kids reach their potential and are having fun. When that occurs, then winning will follow as long as the players buy into a team-first philosophy.’’
Success for KP baseball won’t be distant if Plympton gets players who reflect and embrace the attributes he admires. “When assembling a roster, I look for players who are coachable, have a high baseball IQ, are athletic, and have a positive attitude and strong work ethic,’’ he noted. “Other keys are being mentally tough and respecting teammates, coaches and the game.’’
Plympton, who’s married and lives in Blackstone, isn’t making any predictions on how the 2020 season will evolve but he knows the Hockomock League is strong and that Franklin is a highly formidable foe. “We’ve got talent but it’s too early to tell how our team chemistry will mesh,’’ he said. “Franklin is the top contender in our division. They’ve won the Super 8 title and Zach Brown is one of the best coaches in the area.’’
The 26-year-old Plympton is a physical education and health teacher at KP and he’s also the freshman girls volleyball coach. His arrival at his alma mater seemed like a long shot, especially after the path he took after graduation.
“I enrolled at Plymouth State in New Hampshire and strictly played intramural sports,’’ Plympton said. “A criminal justice major, I focused on academics. I first worked as a police officer for the Derry, N.H., Police Department but left after four months to pursue other avenues.’’
Those “avenues’’ eventually led to a career in education and a position at KP as a teacher-coach. “When I was at Plymouth State, the Criminal Justice Department head (Mark Fischler) suggested that I’d be a better teacher or coach than a criminal justice officer,’’ Plympton recalled. “I thought about his advice and took a job as a substitute teacher at KP.’’
While working on a master’s degree at Fitchburg State for education and teaching curriculum, Plympton became a long-term sub at KP and Medfield High. He eventually became a full-time phys-ed and health instructor at KP in 2018.
Coaching was in his blood lines and it didn’t take long for Plympton to join his father, who coached club baseball teams in the Wrentham area. The younger Plympton coached for Crush Baseball, an AAU program, but later served as a volunteer coach for the KP varsity for both Moran and Pat Weir.
“I later became North Attleboro’s jayvee coach and also was a varsity assistant for Mike Hart,’’ Plympton said. “North won the state Division 2 baseball title in 2018.’’
Now, as a head coach, there’s little doubt that if he needs advice, Plympton will rely on his father, whose Major League career was cut short because of rotator-cuff surgery. “He knows so much about baseball,’’ Plympton said of his father. “I’ve watched him coach and what’s good is that he’ll listen if I’ve got a suggestion. We often bounce ideas off each other.’’
Plympton already has his coaching staff lined up. Jim Danielson, a KP math teacher, and Steve Plympton, Jeff’s uncle who has coached the KP and North Attleboro varsities, will be his assistants. Jason Connelly, who has coached at the high school and college level, will be the jayvee coach and his assistant is Peter Ingham. And, the freshman coach will be Nick Glabicky, a KP science teacher who’ll be assisted by Wayne Simmarian.
Jeff Plympton Jr. should be a good fit for KP. He’s played and coached in the system and also coached against the Warriors. He knows the sport and his players will discover early on how serious he is about developing good citizens. When he met his team in the fall, the players heard him discuss his thoughts on A-C-E.
“Those letters stand for achieving in the classroom, competing 100 percent on the field and exceeding expectations on and off the field,’’ Plympton emphasized. “We want our players to leave the program as better people than when they started.’’