Cody Ellis grew up about an hour south of Patrick Henry Community College, but PHCC has become like another home for the former Patriot.
After playing baseball with the Patriots in 2011 and 2012, Ellis returned to PHCC to assist then head coach Frank Jagoda in 2016 and 2017 before going on to be an assistant coach at the University of Lynchburg to work under another former PHCC coach, Lucas Jones.
“I just think having the support of those around me and those who have been here before (is important),” Ellis said by phone Thursday. It as announced earlier this week that Ellis would be taking over as head coach of the Patriots this fall.
Ellis said that even back in his playing days at PHCC, coming back to be a coach was always a goal of his. He began that with his assistant coaching a few years back, but now gets to really gets to achieve that goal on August 1.
“Coming back to Patrick Henry has always been a goal for me,” he said. “I knew that was an opportunity that I would take if it came about.”
Since his time as a player at PHCC, the Patriots have yet to get over the hump of winning the Region X championship and reaching the NJCAA World Series. Jagoda and Jordan Basile, who Ellis is replacing, each got the Patriots to the conference title game, but just never got that last victory to get the Patriots to the national stage.
Ellis comes in still hungry to get that done.
“That was a huge part of it,” he said. “It ate me up that we didn’t win a region championship... Hopefully we can get over the hump this year.”
Ellis will begin his coaching duties on August 1, and doesn’t plan on wasting any time once he shows up.
“I’m just looking forward to meeting the team and meeting everybody in the athletic department,” he said. “Starting building that championship program.”
Obviously Ellis wants to win, but he also wants to make sure his players succeed on the field and also in the classroom. He said his experience at PHCC can help his players because, “I know what they go through on a daily basis... and what it takes to get to the next level.”
And from there, Ellis wants to continue building on the family atmosphere at Patrick Henry, and forming another “PHamily” on campus.
“It’s certainly important,” he said. “That type of fraternity never dies at Patrick Henry.”
Chris Doherty is a Sports Reporter for the Martinsville Bulletin. Contact him 276-638-8801 ext. 215. Follow on Twitter @BulletinSport