BASEBALL: Port Charlotte hires Johnnie Kirkland as next head coach

New Pirates coach Johnnie Kirkland pitched two years professionally in the Detroit Tigers organization. Photo courtesy Johnnie Kirkland on Twitter

New Pirates coach Johnnie Kirkland pitched professionally in the Detroit Tigers organization.
Photo courtesy Johnnie Kirkland on Twitter

By Bryan Levine, SunCoast Sports

PORT CHARLOTTE — Port Charlotte High School has decided on a new baseball coach, athletic director Bob Bruglio said Friday.

Johnnie Kirkland has accepted a job offer from the Pirates, but according to Bruglio, his hiring is pending county approval.

“Our assistant principal used to coach back in the day, and someone he used to coach with recommended (Kirkland),” Bruglio said. “He seems like a really good guy. He’s going to be a good replacement, and he understands the whole process of being a coach.”

Kirkland most recently spent time as an assistant coach with Gateway High School in the Orlando area. He attended high school at Lake Wales, according to baseball-reference, and went to Southeastern University in Lakeland.

Following college, the 26-year-old Kirkland spent two seasons in the Detroit Tigers organization after being drafted in the 25th round as a pitcher.

“He’s very passionate about the game, and seems very knowledgeable,” Bruglio said “He’s a young guy, and seems like he has a lot to offer.”

Kirkland replaces former coach Bryan Beisner, who resigned on April 5.

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