Paul Caron has been around North Shore baseball for most of his life, and the Salem High teacher is bringing that knowledge to the Witches dugout.
Caron is taking over as Salem’s head baseball coach, the school and athletic director Scott Connolly announced last week.
“Growing up on the North Shore, Salem was always a program that I respected. They play baseball the right way,” said Caron, 37, who grew up in Middleton, played at Masconomet and now lives in Peabody. “The kids compete, they have passion for baseball, and being a teacher in the school, you really feel like you can have a positive impact on the kids.”
Caron has been a teacher in the Salem electrical department for three years. His proximity to the kids and history in baseball made him a great choice to replace the retiring Jim Tgettis, who led the Witches to the state tournament and won his milestone 400th career game last spring.
“I think Paul’s going to do a great job,” Connolly said. “As an administration, we’re really excited to have a coach that’s right here in the building, and with Paul’s history in baseball, I think it’ll be a great fit.”
Salem High had about 10 applicants for the position, Connolly said, and conducted four interviews before settling on Caron, who has worked as an assistant with his brother Michael at Cambridge and was an assistant at North Shore Tech before that.
The experience coaching with the Falcons, who have qualified for the Division 1 North tournament regularly out of the Greater Boston League, will certainly translate to Salem.
“One of the hardest things to do is it get kids to buy in, and being involved in my brother doing that in Cambridge has given me the tools to get that done,” Caron said.
Salem went 11-10 last season and was 34-46 with two state tournament appearances in four years under Tgettis. The Witches’ last NEC Large title came in 2008 (shared with Peabody) in current Salem State coach Mike Ward’s last season.
Coaching in the always tough NEC with baseball powers like Beverly, Lynn English, Peabody and Danvers was also a big draw for Caron.
“In my mind, it’s one of the strongest leagues possibly statewide and you have some of the best coaches in the state at some of these schools. There’s such a high level of respect for these programs and the way they go about their business,” he said.
“I’m replacing a coach (Tgettis) that was a quality coach, one of the best on the North Shore. There’s a foundation in Salem, and it’s my responsibility to try to build on that. We have a strong core of seniors, and I’m looking forward to working with them.”