Josh Lee takes over Newport Harbor High baseball program
Josh Lee said he is excited about coaching in what he considers one of the top public high school baseball leagues in California.
“There’s a lot of coaches that have done a really great job,” he said. “I’ve been a big fan of how Huntington [Beach] has transformed over the last decade, decade and a half [under coach Benji Medure]. I’m excited to get to coach against a lot of those guys.”
Lee will get that opportunity, as he is the new head baseball coach at Newport Harbor High School, where he will also teach social studies.
He takes over for Evan Chalmers, who resigned from his second stint as Sailors coach after eight years.
Lee, 31, was most recently the head coach of North Torrance High for two years, and spent four years as an assistant at Mater Dei before that. He is an Orange County product, as he played pitcher and outfielder at Aliso Niguel High, then Orange Coast College for two years. He was part of the Pirates’ 2009 state championship team under the longtime late head coach John Altobelli.
Lee also played at Cal State San Bernardino, where he was a two-time All-California College Athletic Assn. selection. Coaching at North Torrance, he led the Saxons to the CIF Southern Section Division 5 semifinals this past spring, the program’s first CIF semifinal appearance in 30 years.
“Evan obviously left the program better than how he found it, and I think that’s the hallmark of building a good program,” Lee said. “This year in particular, this is going to be a very senior-heavy team and a team that’s going to have the ability to compete for a league championship. Obviously, what’s been done in the past, some of the things we’ll do the same and some of the things we’ll do different, but it’s building off the past successes that they’ve had.”
Chalmers was the Newport Harbor baseball head coach from 2006 through 2009 before being fired, but he was rehired in 2013. He remains a teacher at the school. He said he stepped back from coaching to spend more time with his family.
“My son [Dayne] is playing volleyball at UCSB,” Chalmers said. “I’m looking forward to following him around with my wife. I’m pretty excited about that opportunity ... I really enjoy coaching, but I thought it was a good time.”
Newport Harbor finished 12-13 overall this past spring, and third place in the Wave League.
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