Daniel Warzon thought he wanted to chase a lucrative career in the business world.
But it was just a thought.
After a successful college baseball playing career at Young Harris, East Carolina and the University of North Georgia, Warzon's desire to pursue the coaching profession was too much to ignore.
"Teaching and coaching had always been in the back of my mind," he said. "But moving around a bit, business was the easiest thing to stay on track to graduate."
Warzon can add head softball coach to his resume now. The Bluff assistant baseball coach was hired to take over an ever-growing Cherokee Bluff softball team on Tuesday.
"We're extremely grateful to have Coach Warzon in our program," Bluff Athletics Director Kenny Hill said. "He's right for the Cherokee Bluff softball family and will keep moving our program in the right direction."
Warzon replaces Kristi Underwood, who resigned last month. She left the program in good shape, and Warzon is excited about the opportunity to build on her success as the Bears enter season No. 3.
"Kristi did a wonderful job," he said. "Especially building something from the ground up and in Year 2, making it to the playoffs and almost round 2. She did an incredible job. It is a settling feeling taking over something that has good roots to it. It's an exciting feeling as well to grow it even more."
The Bears were 7-17 in their first-ever season and in Year 2, made drastic improvements, finishing 19-11 with a first-round Class 3A playoff appearance.
The program also returns most of its line up in 2020.
"We have some girls with experience and playoff experience," he said. "To have 8 girls coming back that got to experience the playoffs last year is huge for this season. We're going to build off of that and keep it growing. My big drive is going to be to keep growing this program and keep it going in the right direction."
The new Region 7-3A is wide open, according to Warzon. He says it's good from top to bottom.
"I don't think there are any dominating teams coming back," he said. "I think they're all good softball teams that have the capability to beat anybody on any given day. I think that is going to create a fun softball season where every game is crucial and when it stacks up at the end of the season is going to matter. I just can't wait to get out there."
HOW IT ALL STARTED
Warzon's path was kind of unconventional. As he describes it, "I kind of came in the back door for education."
He stuck around UNG to work on his graduate degree and teaching certification after his final year of eligibility was up. He was a grad assistant on Tom Cantrell's staff and jumped at every opportunity to hone his coaching craft.
His march through the learning process carried him to North Gwinnett as a student teacher and assistant baseball coach.
And later, Warzon found himself at his high school alma mater, Collins Hill, thanks to coach Paul Pierce.
The then-Collins Hill head baseball and softball coach asked Warzon, on a day he was substitute teaching, 'how serious are you about coaching?'
"One thing led to another and they found a coaching and teaching spot for me," he said.
It's where his career officially started as the 9th-grade softball coach and varsity assistant as well as a baseball assistant on Pierce's staff.
"Softball started off great," he said. "I'm an assistant and had the time of my life coaching 9th-grade softball and assisting with the varsity."
A couple of years after assisting with the state championship softball program, Pierce left for Mill Creek, leaving an opportunity for Warzon to step up to the head coaching ranks.
The Collins Hill administration picked Warzon to replace Pierce as head baseball coach.
He led the Eagles to a 24-8 record in 2016 and a third-round playoff appearance.
THE PATH TO THE BLUFF
A move to Braselton during his time as head baseball coach at Collins Hill is the reason Warzon eventually landed at The Bluff.
"I started thinking that this drive is a lot and wanted to get closer to home," he said. "I heard about Cherokee Bluff and loved the community. I took the opportunity when I could to get up here and coach with Jeremy Kemp and do baseball. Now we're here."
"When I first started pursuing this, it was something that had been in the back of my mind," Warzon said. "Our fields are side by side and so I have gotten to look at the field and watch them practice. For a little bit now, it's always kind of been in the back of my mind. It's an awesome program and I felt that it would be a great opportunity if that ever came around. Little did I know some things were in the works with her (Kristi Underwood) leaving and the opportunity came about."