It's been years since Lehigh baseball has won a district title, or even posted a winning record.
Aaron Pileggi wants to change that.
"We're not always the most respected, but we want to earn that respect," Pileggi said. "There's been a lot of talent, but we've had guys leaving that would have been a good help because of that."
Now Pileggi gets to see if he can change that trend and transform the culture at Lehigh, which has hovered around .500 for most of the last decade. He was named coach this week, moving up after one year as the Lightning's pitching coach following previous coach Joe Anderson's departure to take a job in his home state of Ohio.
"Aaron has a passion for kids, and his experience as a collegiate pitcher and high school coach really impressed us," said Jason Plucker, an assistant principal at the school who aided in the hiring process. "He also had a five-year plan for not only creating a winning baseball program, but also building men of integrity.
"He really helped our pitchers last year, so I'm excited to see what he can do with the rest of the team."
Pileggi earned a scholarship to Texas A&M after an accomplished prep career in that state. After an injury ended his collegiate career before it started, he turned his attention to coaching. Assistant gigs in Gainesville and at Gateway Charter led him to Lehigh, where he gets his first chance to fully implement his vision.
"You coach the way you play," Pileggi said. "We're going to be a very disciplined, organized, fundamentally sound team, and sometimes that's the way you win."
He sees that template in the success of district rival and perennial area powerhouse Estero. He doesn't think his team is ready yet, especially after losing five starters to graduation, but he hopes the Lightning will first start to mimic the Wildcats' approach before eventually seizing their throne in a few years.
"We've got to beat the best to be the best," Pileggi said. "There's no reason Lehigh shouldn't win; there's just too much talent there."