CHARLOTTE - At 23, Bo Coggins is one of the country's youngest American Legion baseball coaches.
But he's not young when it comes to Legion experience - both as a player and a fan.
And while Coggins coaches the Charlotte-based Queen City Mustangs, his baseball background is pure Gaston County.
"With my grandfather living there and my father playing there, I've spent a lot of time watching baseball over there," said Coggins, whose Mustangs opened their N.C. Area IV first round best-of-five playoff series on Sunday night with a doubleheader against Burke County. "The first baseball games I can remember seeing were Gaston Braves games or Cherryville Post 100 games. So coaching Legion baseball is really special to me."
For Coggins, he said that watching Devon Lowery or Zach Horne among others for the Braves and standouts like Jake Watts or Drew Reynolds for Post 100 in the last few years.
Grandfather Wayne Coggins lives in Belmont, where he once was a Little League and Babe Ruth League coach. In 1986 he assisted Ben Willis and 1987 he was head coach as Belmont Babe Ruth teams that included eventual professional signees Corey Broome and Shane Laye won state championships.
And his father Boyd Coggins played on three straight South Point conference championship teams from 1981 to 1983, including the 1981 N.C. 3A state championship team, before he pitched at Davidson College.
This season, when Bo Coggins got the job as coach of the Queen City Mustangs, not only was he thrilled to have a chance to coach a game he loved but he knew where to look for some help.
Wayne Coggins handles the scoreboard while Boyd Coggins keeps the scorebook and Bo Coggins does the coaching.
"It's really a family affair," Bo Coggins said.
Bo Coggins is coaching the Mustangs' first team since 2013 as lack of interest and lack of a regular playing field kept athletic officer Gerald Young from fielding a team.
But with Bo Coggins back from college - he graduated from Hampden-Sydney College in 2015 where former South Point High standouts Dustin Wiles and Spencer Wiles were among his classmates - he ran into Young at the Jack Sink Easter tournament at Myers Park earlier this spring.
"I was coaching junior varsity at Myers Park and saw Gerald and the Sink tournament and asked him what he was doing this year," Bo Coggins said. "When he told me that wanted to have a team but were looking for a coach and field, I jumped at the chance."
So while Bo Coggins works at Wyndham Capital Mortgage by day, he's spending his nights this summer guiding a Mustangs team that has found surprising success.
A younger team in that Queen City has no college freshmen on its roster, the Mustangs have thrived with eight college signees and a roster that includes players from Charlotte Catholic, Charlotte Country Day, Myers Park and Providence high schools and includes younger brother Tom Hay Coggins.
Tom Hay Coggins (Rhodes, Tenn., College) is one of the eight future collegians; The others are Trent Alley (Furman), Owen Grayson (Roanoke), Dirk Masters (Towson), McCann Mellett (Wingate), Lucas Plein (Wingate) and Alex Shirazi (Lenoir-Rhyne).
"It's been great and I've had a great time coaching them," Bo Coggins said. "We've had a lot of fun coaching this group and hope we can have some success in the playoffs."