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High Schools | BASEBALL COACH OF THE YEAR

This Stillwell Molds Champs

June 22, 2003|Mike Bresnahan

In baseball circles, he's no longer known as Kurt Stillwell's little brother.

Rod Stillwell is now the coach who finally won a Southern Section championship at Thousand Oaks, a school that always seemed to have enough skill to make the playoffs but had never advanced past the quarterfinals until this season.

Thousand Oaks, 11-15 a year ago, defeated Anaheim Canyon in the Division II championship, 7-3, to earn its first baseball title in the school's 41-year history.

In only his second year at Thousand Oaks, Stillwell, 36 and The Times' baseball coach of the year, guided the Lancers (25-6) to a second-place finish in the Marmonte League and to playoff victories over three teams ranked by The Times.

Stillwell, whose brother played nine years in the majors primarily as a shortstop for the Kansas City Royals and Cincinnati Reds, coached with the same passion he had as an overachieving 5-foot-6, 140-pound shortstop who graduated from Thousand Oaks in 1985.

"When you take over a program, first you have to try and get the players on the same page as you are," Stillwell said. "It was sometimes difficult to change their perspective into what yours is and get them to do things the way you want things done, but their hard work and dedication is what brought us our first championship in school history."

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