BOONVILLE — Josh Pardue is back home.
The former Starmount standout takes over as the varsity baseball coach at the school he graduated from in 2000.
Pardue, now 31, has spent the last five years with the baseball program at Millbrook High School in Raleigh. The Wildcats reached the fourth round of the 4A playoffs two of his five seasons there and were 46-28 over his last three seasons.
Pardue said when the opportunity presented itself, he was happy to move back home. “My family’s here,” he said.
His younger brother, Caleb, will head the JV program and assist Pardue with the varsity program. Pardue coached Caleb when Caleb was at Starmount and Pardue was “right out of college. Now I was able to hire him as my coach,” Pardue said.
It’s been a busy few months for Pardue and it will stay busy a little longer. He and his fianceé, Abby Marsh, had a child, Payton, Dec. 28. Pardue said they’ll get married “at the end of the baseball season.”
Pardue played third base and first base under then-coach Scott Carter. “I pitched a little bit,” Pardue said. “I played everywhere really. We were fairly successful.”
He was All-Conference both his varsity seasons as a junior and a senior.
Pardue also played football for Scott Johnson at Starmount. “I had a lot of great coaches growing up,” he said. “They were just great relationships I had with them. It influenced me as a coach.”
He said he hadn’t thought about coaching until after he graduated from college. “I was trying to find a career path,” he said.
I was looking back and seeing what direction I wanted to go in.”
After “looking back,” he started coaching.
Coming back to Starmount will give Pardue a chance to do what the baseball coaches before him have done.
“I want to put my stamp on it, too,” he said.
The Rams are off to a 1-1 start. They went 8-16 a year ago.