October 13 - Five years after the Free Lance–Star named him the All-Area Player of the Year as a senior at Riverbend, Eric Byrd is returning to his alma mater as the Bears’ head coach.
A two-sport athlete at the Fredericksburg school - he was also the quarterback of the football team - Byrd went 6-1 with a 1.09 ERA and hit .362 during his final season in 2014. He went on to pitch at the Virginia Military Institute, where he graduated last year with a degree in international studies.
Byrd, 23, works as a Virginia State Trooper and is based in Stafford County.
“Short on experience but he has that something special,” the school’s athletics director, Tim Stimmell, wrote via text message. “He has told me since he was a senior in high school someday he was going to take over the program.”
Byrd becomes the fourth coach in program history. Stimmell skippered the Bears from their first season in 2005 until 2014, when he stepped away to focus on his duties as AD. Stephen Morin took over from 2015-16, and Angelo Sciandra went 21-44 over the past three seasons.
Riverbend was 7-15 this past spring, upsetting Thomas Dale in the Region 6B quarterfinals before falling in the semifinals to eventual region champion James River, 7-6, in extra innings
Three area head coaching vacancies remain open at Jefferson, Marshall, Park View and Patriot.
Photo of Eric Byrd courtesy of VMI Athletics