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Conference Coach of the Year Matt Tiffy reflects on successful season of TF South Baseball

Veteran coach says players, supporting staff a crucial ingredient to team’s success

By Josh Bootsma

LANSING, Ill. (June 25, 2022) – Though Red Wolves Baseball was stymied at regionals this year after a 19-10 season, the team had postseason reason to celebrate: Coach Matt Tiffy’s winning the conference Coach of the Year award.

Tiffy has been a high school baseball coach for 16 years, with the last 13 of those years served in the dugout or third base line at TF South. In the last five years, Tiffy has now won Coach of the Year twice in the South Suburban Conference, which includes 13 schools in addition to TF South.

An award for the players and coaches

“When they told me I won the award, I was pretty shocked. I’m one of the 14 guys who are in the room and there’s obviously some very deserving coaches who have won it. I think it’s a testament to the kids — how hard they played and how well they developed,” Tiffy said.

Tiffy also credits his coaching staff with helping maintain an award-worthy program.

“Dave Soderstrom, TJ Walton, and Sam Cook do a good job every day to help our kids and our program get better.”

Young, successful team

The Red Wolves’ 19-10 finish earned them a third place conference finish with a team comprising mostly sophomores.

“Our sophomore-loaded team did a really nice job of creating havoc in the conference and raising their level of play,” said.

He also said some of their 10 losses came during the team’s Myrtle Beach trip early in the season, a stretch were the team was focused on determining players’ strengths while matching up against tough opponents.

Baseball coaches in the South Suburban Conference nominate other coaches to be the Coach of the Year, and this year four nominations were put to a final vote among the coaches, with Tiffy ultimately winning the honor.

Beyond the diamond

Though always intentional about getting to know his players, Tiffy had an even greater opportunity to do so this year, as he moved from coaching on the third base line to coaching from the dugout.

“When you’re spending that much time with kids, whether it be at Myrtle Beach, in the dugout, or at practice, or during one of our lifts, there was a really good bond between the kids, the kids and the coaching staff, and the coaching staff in general,” Tiffy said. “We got to know each other, what kids really wanted out of baseball, what they want to do. And that’s a really special part of being inside the dugout and being part of the team.”

Though some senior Red Wolves have left the pack, Tiffy is hopeful that the development of young players that took place this year will result in more success for the TFS baseball program next year.

TF South High School is located at 18500 Burnham Avenue in Lansing.

Josh Bootsma
Josh Bootsma
Josh is Managing Editor at The Lansing Journal and believes in the power and purpose of community news. He covers any local topics—from village government to theatre, from business openings to migratory birds.