ETSU's program has former Bulldog Skole planting roots

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WCIV) - If you build it, he will stay.{}Citadel hall of famer and two sport athlete Tony Skole is the perfect example of that.

He's now in his 14th season at East Tennessee State University in Johnson City as their head baseball coach.{}It's taken until now to get a ballpark he can truly call his own.{}

"From recruiting, player development, we're able to have a home.{}It's made a world of difference and will pay dividends down the road" said Skole.{}

For Skole, he knows the potential of a mid-major program; he helped lead The Citadel to Omaha in the greatest season in program history.{}

"I'm trying to model our program at East Tennessee after the model The Citadel has.{}Coach Port started it; Coach Jordan has done such a good job in carrying it. There are a lot of disciples in coaching from The Citadel.{}We communicate on a daily basis.{}Citadel connections will stay with us," he said.{}

Skole is just as much of a Citadel fan as he was the day he graduated.{}He even traveled this past football season to Boone, N.C., to see his Bulldogs rack up a signature win against Appalachian State.

"I'm very excited about Citadel football.{}Very excited about Coach Higgins and what he has done.{} I think this is the year they make the playoffs," he said.{}

While The Citadel football playoffs would be nice, the playoff birth he's been building 14 years for, the one he's truly invested in.{}

"They've taken great care of me, I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to move to bigger programs and be an assistant.{}I wanted to plant roots here and see if I can build this thing.{} The relationships I've found here I wouldn't trade for anything.{}It's been a great place and I think the future is very bright," Skole said.{}

He's got a pedigree, a plan and now a baseball house in the place he's grown to call a home.{}