Palisade hires Porter as baseball coach

From very early on, Nate Porter has been influenced by extremely successful coaches. Now, he has a chance to build his own legacy at a winning prep baseball program.

Palisade High School Athletic Director Gregg Hawkins announced Monday the hiring of Porter as its baseball coach.

Porter was drawn to coaching early after playing under Steve Vickery at a San Diego-area high school, Ed Olsen at Grossmont College (California) and then two years playing under Chris Hanks at Colorado Mesa University in the late 1990s. Vickery was inducted into the National High School Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame in 2012, Olsen is one of the 10 winningest junior college coaches in California, and Hanks is the Mavericks’ all-time winningest baseball coach.

After graduating from Mesa, Porter assisted at Grand Junction and then Central, where he was on the staff of the state-championship Warriors team in 2002.

All of the coaching influences left Porter with a passion for teaching and coaching.

“It’s affected me quite a bit,” Porter said. “All three of those guys, whether they know it or not, have influenced me in big ways. It’s made me think about how I could have been a better player for them, or what I could of done differently, but their passion for the game and for helping young men — rather, boys becoming young men — it’s a big deal for me. Their influence, whether it’s spoken or not, has led to my desire to be successful in coaching.”

Porter will replace Aaron Howard, who resigned after four seasons to spend more time with his family. Howard was 60-22 with the Bulldogs and led the team to two Class 4A Western Slope League championships. The Bulldogs have had at least 13 wins every year since 2009.

“I want to continue what past guys have been doing,” Porter said. “I’m not trying to reinvent the wheel, just build on the foundation these guys have built.”

Porter has already tabbed Kiel Roling as an assistant coach. Roling, a 2004 graduate of Central High School, was drafted out of Arizona State University and played for several years in the Colorado Rockies organization.

Recently, Roling was an assistant at Grand Junction High School and provided private hitting instruction for young players.

Porter said the added experience of Roling will help immensely.

“He and I had discussed it before I had even got this job,” Porter said. “His experience coaching high school baseball, playing pro ball, the experience at a Division I four-year school and that he’s giving hitting instructions to kids already. It was easy for me to bring him on.”


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