Rockville’s Wheelock steps down after 36 seasons

VERNON — After three trips to the state championship, over 400 victories and 36 seasons at the helm at Rockville High School, legendary and accomplished baseball skipper Arthur Wheelock is calling it a career.

Though his passion for the game never wavered, and remains as strong as it ever has, time seems to have caught up with the CCC coaching staple after more than three decades.

“It’s been building,” Wheelock said. “I physically cannot be as active as I like to be in practice. It just started to wear on and I felt like I was cheating myself and the kids.”

For all but the most recent three years of his career, Wheelock routinely pitched during every bating practice. But being unable to be as active as he prefers drove him crazy.

Thankfully for Vernon baseball, it won’t be a clean break.

“I’ll be around for consultation if need be,” Wheelock said, “but what I will probably end up doing, is that since my son coaches the legion team in town I might help him to stay in contact with the same kids.”

Wheelock has turned hundreds of baseball players into varsity athletes, and has prepared them for college, and a life beyond. In addition to all the lives he has touched, the coach is proud of the accomplishments of the 1999 and 2000 teams. In 1999, the Rams fell in the final, but a year later they returned, and triumphed,

“A lot of people go through their career and never reach a state final,” the coach said. “I was fortunate enough to be in three of them and win one. I got to live my dream, which to me was important. My son was coaching at the time, my daughter was a manager and my wife was in the stands and it made it really special for me.”

Wheelock also led the Rams to the state finals back in 1981.

Knowing baseball is a team game, Wheelock is quick to share the credit for his, and the baseball program’s success during his tenure as head coach.

“Vernon and Rockville has always been very strong in baseball at all levels,” he said. “I’d like to say I was at least able to maintain that. The kids buy into what I ask them to buy into over the years and that’s important and we’ve had pretty good chemistry.”

Wheelock retires with a career coaching record of 433-327.

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