The time was right for Matt Dockery.
When former head coach Jim Conley departed the Waterloo baseball program to pursue a teaching opportunity at Fairless High School, it was Dockery that was tabbed to take over the one-time County Division powerhouse.
A 1996 graduate of Rootstown and a graduate of Kent State, Dockery is a familiar face around the halls of Waterloo High School. The school district's technology coordinator, Dockery has worn a number of hats during his time at Waterloo.
Dockery got his start in coaching under former Waterloo head coach Doug Mori. In 1998 -- while attending Kent State -- Dockery helped the Vikings to their last league championship season. On an interesting note, Dockery served as Conley's JV coach during that 1998 season.
His last go-around as a coach came in 2007 when he served as the program's JV coach, before leaving baseball to pursue a graduate degree at Kent State University.
With Conley departing, Dockery said the time was right for him to return to the game.
"I last coached baseball in the 2007 season as the JV coach at Waterloo and this was the right time to take over the program," Dockery said.
Since making a Division III regional appearance in 2010, the Waterloo program has dipped, winning just five games in the past two season.
Dockery said that job number one in taking over the program is to get his players back to basics.
"The last couple of years, this team has been young and has not experienced a lot of success," Dockery said. "So we've been really working on the fundamentals with this bunch.
"But from what I'v seen, we've got some kids that are hard workers and they want to get better," Dockery added. "They want to succeed and they're working at that."
Waterloo has struggled with low participation numbers in recent years and has been one of the few teams in the area to not field a JV program.
Dockery said that may still be the case this season, but he is working to put together at least a short JV schedule for his undeveloped players.
"It makes things difficult to keep interest in your younger players if you don't have a JV team," Dockery said. "When you have those freshmen sitting on the bench and not playing, it's easy for them (to lose interest)."
Regardless, with an April 2 season opener with Field rapidly approaching, Dockery said that he is excited to dive into the season.
"In a few weeks, I'll have a better handle on what (the team) will be like, but so far, I'm encouraged with the effort we've shown in open gyms and our other workouts."