LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Major League Baseball superstar Bryce Harper just won his second MVP award after a career year with the Philadelphia Phillies.
13 Action News spoke with two coaches who knew Harper in high school and say they're not the least bit surprised at how successful he's been in the major leagues.
"For 31 years I've been coaching and I've never seen anyone like him, and I really don't think we're ever going to see another bryce harper," said Sam Thomas, the head baseball coach at Las Vegas High School.
Thomas considers himself fortunate to have coached Bryce Harper at Las Vegas High School, although he admits there wasn't much he could coach him up on.
"When Bryce got here, he was really, really good. I mean, there really wasn't much to do, like you're not gonna you're not going to tell him how to hit. There wasn't a whole lot of physical development. He was so far beyond everybody else that was here," said Thomas.
While scouts and social media obsessed over Harper's superior skills, coach Thomas was always amazed by his will to win.
"He cared more about winning than what he was doing. He cared more about the whole team than anybody else," said Thomas.
"I didn't coach him, but I did coach against him when I was coaching at Green Valley High School, and he was a man amongst boys as a 15 year-old," said Nick Garritano, the head baseball coach at The College of Southern Nevada.
Garritano left Green Valley High School to become the head coach at CSN the year after Harper played his one and only season at CSN. But in that one year, Garritano says Harper became a baseball legend who left a lasting legacy.
"Our kids, yesterday there was a buzz after practice. They heard that he got the NL MVP and they were pumped. And it's because we talk about Bryce. We've talked in our recruiting to a lot of these kids, we use his name. And all of a sudden, you mention, you know, Bryce Harper played here. And then all of a sudden, you become a giant," said Garritano.
Two MVP awards later, these coaches say they're happy for Harper and all his big league success, but not one bit surprised.
"None of this shocks me. We've seen videos of him when he has came out here and worked with his father on hitting. It's such a business like approach," said Garritano.
"It doesn't surprise me. It's actually pretty amazing if you think about it, all of the expectations, all the pressure. I couldn't imagine anybody else going through what he did, and then to actually do it! I mean, he has the ability. He definitely has the work ethic. Nobody's gonna outwork him, but the desire and everything and to be able to accomplish all that, it's phenomenal," said Thomas.
Thomas and Garritano say the stories of Harper hitting 500 foot home runs in high school and college are absolutely true, but they're more impressed every time he comes back to his old high school or college to give back to kids who dream of becoming him. They say he's an even better person than ball player.