The Eagle Point baseball team will turn to a familiar face to front its struggling program.

The Eagle Point baseball team will turn to a familiar face to front its struggling program.

Mike Newmann, a 1999 Eagle Point High graduate, was named head baseball coach on Wednesday, replacing Rob Cowden, who recently stepped down after five seasons with the team.

Ashland High also named a pair of new hires in Bill Bowers (wrestling) and Emily Stone (volleyball).

Bowers will return to head up the wrestling program after a two-year hiatus. He was the Grizzly coach during the 1984-85 season following his final year competing for Oregon State University.

In 2006, Bowers came back to the Grizzlies when the program was reinstated and stayed on for the next two seasons before leaving to spend more time with his family.

Bowers will take over for Joe Crane.

Stone, a 2004 Ashland graduate, starred for the Grizzlies and, more recently, the Southern Oregon University volleyball team.

Stone, who replaces three-year coach Jodee Scott, has experience coaching at the club level but will be on the sidelines at the high school level for the first time this fall.

For first-time head coach Newmann, the challenge of bringing success to his alma mater is what excites him the most.

"I've got high expectations," said Newmann, 29. "Obviously it will take some time to turn around the program as a whole.

"I have a bottom-up philosophy. I want to take over at the lower levels and make my presence known to these kids. I know (success) will not happen overnight, although we do have some young talent and a strong foundation to work with."

Newmann was a three-time all-Southern Oregon Conference first-team outfielder and pitcher with the Eagles in the late '90s. He helped Riverside (Calif.) Community College win the first of four straight Junior College World Series titles before a back injury sidelined him his sophomore season.

After recovering, Newmann played two summer seasons with the Southern Oregon RiverDogs, then finished his collegiate career at UC Davis.

Almost immediately after graduating he moved back to Eagle Point to start a family with his wife, Lynnsey. The two are now raising three children together.

The Eagles have not had a winning season since the 2000 season.

"It's a building process going on out here at Eagle Point," said Newmann. "I'm anxious to get going."

Newmann, who works at Evergreen Home Loans in Eagle Point, plans to ease his way into the program this summer by working with the American Legion team.

"I'll be stepping in there to play some sort of role," he said. "I won't be taking the reins, I want to ease my way in with the guys — build trust with them and do it the right way."

Reach reporter/page designer Kevin Goff at 541-776-4483, or e-mail kgoff@mailtribune.com