Looking for a seasoned baseball coach with recruiting ties to the area and beyond, Surry Community College hit a grand slam with the hiring of Weston Payne.
Payne, who spent the past three years as the head coach at Mount Airy High School, took the next step in his baseball career as an assistant coach for the Knights’ baseball program.
“He will bring a lot of energy and a lot of baseball knowledge,” said Surry head coach Tim Collins. “He is young, and he will be able to help a lot with the recruiting aspect of it. He is local, so he has ties to the college and to the community, which helps. He is someone that I can depend on.”
Payne played high school baseball for East Surry. The Cardinals went 56-7 during Payne’s junior and senior seasons, which included a 31-game winning streak and State Runner-Up trophy in 2014. He continued his playing career at Rockingham Community College.
He’s been coaching in the high school ranks ever since, beginning as a volunteer assistant at East Surry before taking over as the head JV coach and varsity assistant at West Stokes. Mount Airy gave Payne his first job as a varsity head coach Payne’s first varsity head coaching job in the fall of 2018.
He also brings vast recruiting resources to the Knights as he has been a heavy hitter in the youth travel baseball circuit in the region and throughout the state.
“We are so excited about Weston joining our coaching staff,” said Mark Tucker, SCC Athletic Director and former Knights baseball coach. “He will be outstanding with our student-athletes. Weston brings a wealth of knowledge and experience, along with a passion for helping players. We feel extremely fortunate to have him on our coaching staff.”
“I am definitely excited to get over there at Surry,” Payne said. “I’ve always wanted to get to the college level. It should be an easy transition for me because I’m very familiar with the local talent that surrounds us, and we can continue to build upon what Coach Collins is doing at Surry.”
While Payne is excited about what the future holds, he also is proud of what the Bears were able to accomplish during those three seasons in the Granite City.
Mount Airy made the it to the third round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association playoffs in 2019. This marked the Bears’ first trip to the third round since the early 1940s. Looking to build off the historic 2019 season, Mount Airy started the 2020 season 4-1 before the season was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Making the third round of the playoffs was definitely a huge accomplishment for our kids and our program,” Payne said. “Last year, COVID ended our season early, but we were able to go 4-1 to start the year with high expectations moving forward if that season had continued. I am so thankful for all the players that have been a part of the program the last three years.”
“I would like to thank the administration at Mount Airy for giving me an opportunity to lead the program, and I’m grateful for the opportunity that Coach Tucker and Coach Collins saw in me to help Coach Collins continue to build what he has at Surry. It was definitely a tough decision to leave Mount Airy. The talent that is there and what we have built so far as a program, it was definitely hard to leave, but I definitely feel like it was best move for me, and I think going forward they will be in good hands.”