Mitch Hannahs was visiting the Buckeye State late last month when he received a phone call, offering him the Indiana State University head baseball coaching job.
ISU requested that he be on the Terra Haute campus the following day for an introductory press conference. With no time to waste, he was back on the interstate, driving west.
As the mile markers appeared, the 45-year-old Hannahs certainly had plenty of time to think and reminisce on the journey back to the Hoosier State. Ah, life was truly grand for the small town student/athlete, who made good in the big city -so to speak.
That small "town" of course is Graysville.
Located in the southwest corner of Monroe County, the village of Graysville is about 20 miles from the City of Marietta and the Ohio River.
A rural area, the 2010 census revealed a population of less than 100 people in "Golden Hawks" country.
At one time, Skyvue High was a teenage hub in Graysville, but in 1994, it and Woodsfield consolidated to form Monroe Central High.
The school in Graysville is still there today, but now it's called Skyvue Elementary.
Hannahs, 5-foot-10, 170 pounds, attended and played ball at Skyvue High, and after he graduated in 1985, he probably could've gone the short trek south, and played both baseball and basketball at Marietta College. He was that good in a Golden Hawks uniform. The same year he got his prep diploma, he was instrumental in helping Mark Huffman-coached Skyvue qualify for state in both sports.
But Hannahs had NCAA Division I potential in baseball, and MC, even though a powerhouse on the diamond (and still is), was Division III.
Hannahs ended up going to and starring at Indiana State, the place where John Wooden once coached and Larry Bird played basketball.
Hannahs led the Sycamores to three NCAA D1 playoff berths, including their one and only trip to the College World Series in 1986. That same year, Marietta College won its third national title of the decade.
After graduating from ISU, Hannahs, an All-American infielder, was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers, and played in their farm system.
A few years later, when he got out of pro ball, he began his coaching career as an assistant at his college alma mater and was there for seven springs before moving on and coaching baseball at Lincoln Trail Community College in Robinson, Ill., for several seasons.
Hannahs certainly paid his dues as coach, and now he's a D1 baseball skipper. And, to make it perhaps more special next spring, he'll be coaching his oldest son, Derek.
No question about it, the former Black & Gold prep standout has come a long ways from Skyvue.
Ron Johnston is the Marietta Times sports editor, and can be reached at 376-5441 or at firstname.lastname@example.org