HAMILTON — Josh Sams is back in blue.
Hamilton High School announced Tuesday night that Sams will be its next head baseball coach. He takes over for Joey Lewis, who recently stepped away after 13 seasons.
“It’s definitely been my dream job ever since I started coaching baseball a long time ago,” Sams said. “The history of Hamilton baseball with Dan Bowling and Joey Lewis — them spending close to 50 years combined on building this program. I’ve put my time in and got to learn from those guys. To be that guy to follow those two, it’s hard to take it all in right now. But I’m super excited.”
A 1995 Hamilton graduate, Sams was an assistant for the Big Blue baseball program for 15 years — eight as the freshman coach, six as the JV coach and a varsity assistant in 2022.
Sams left Hamilton to take the Fenwick head coach position in 2023, leading the Falcons to a 17-12 record.
“Leaving Fenwick was a tough decision to make,” Sams said. “They gave me my shot. I wouldn’t have left for any other job unless it was here. I’ve been a part of Hamilton and their programs for years. So it’s home.”
Sams has led the Big Blue girls soccer program the last nine seasons and coaches Cincinnati Baseball Club Midwest during the summer.
Sams is a full-time mental health counselor for Community Behavioral Health, which contracts with Hamilton City Schools, Queen of Peace and St. Peter in Chains.
“We are excited to have Josh lead our baseball program,” Hamilton athletic director Missy Harvey said. “He brings a wealth of baseball knowledge and experience.
“He bleeds Blue and has a passion for the Hamilton community that will allow him to make immediate connections,” Harvey added. “He has a plan that will make our baseball program competitive again. He will hit the ground running and our athletes will benefit from his work ethic.”
Sams said his assistant baseball coach experience at Hamilton has helped pave the way for this moment.
“Coach Bowling and Coach Lewis allowed me to learn on my own,” Sams said. “I think that’s what good leaders do. They’ll show you the ropes, but you’re the one that has to take in a little bit and go with it. I’ve taken a little from each of them.
“I’ve had a lot of time to learn from a lot of good people. I’ve got my own system, and I’ve got my own things that I do. I was able to take that to Fenwick and have a really good season. This makes me excited.”
Sams understands the type of baseball cultured mindset the Hamilton area possesses, and he said he hopes to bring back a winning tradition to Stang Field.
Big Blue finished 9-18 this past season.
“I think for me, the real focus should be outside of baseball — starting at the ground and working our way back up through the youth program,” Sams said. “Getting kids involved in the middle schools and the elementary schools and getting that shine back to Hamilton from the bottom up will get us back to the roots.
“As far as the philosophy side for baseball, we’re going to look at the mental health side through what I do as a career — approach, discipline and being locked into the game with what we are supposed to be doing. Pitching and defense wins games, but also finding that mental approach on the offensive side of the plate is what I’ve always hung my hat on.”