Adairsville's Roper recognized for 200th career victory
Adairsville High School baseball coach, Billy Roper, was recently recognized by the Georgia Dugout Club for achieving 200 wins as a head baseball coach.
Coach Roper is beginning his fifth year as the head baseball coach at Adairsville after serving as an assistant on the Tigers’ staff for four years with coach Eric Bishop.
Prior to joining the staff at Adairsville, Roper was the head coach at Newton High School in Covington for eight years.
Adairsville is 51-53-1 over the past four seasons under Roper including a 15-11 campaign in 2016. The Tigers were 10-19 last season, 13-12-1 in 2015, and 13-11 in 2014.
Adairsville will begin baseball tryouts and practices on Monday, January 22 with their preseason scrimmage set for 5:30 p.m. on February 8 at home against St. Pius.
The Tigers officially begin the 2018 season at home February 12 against Model at 5:30 p.m.
Also at the Georgia Dugout Club Awards ceremony at the Marietta Hilton Hotel & Conference Center, Valdosta head coach Brad Porter received the Ethics in Coaching Award The GDC also added six new members into its Hall of Fame -- the late Georgia College coach John Kurtz, former Brunswick coach Charles Skipper, Mercer University coach Craig Gibson, Mill Creek coach Doug Jones, Parkview coach Chan Brown and Walton coach Shane Amos.
Kurtz's family (wife Kathy, daughter Kauleen Thatcher and grandson Cooper Thatcher) accepted the Hall of Fame award on behalf of the legendary Bobcat coach, who guided the Georgia College program for 18 seasons. Kurtz passed away in the fall of 1993 at practice. He compiled a 577-369-4 record, leading the Bobcats from 1976 to 1993. He led the program to seven Georgia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championships and four NAIA District 25 titles. He guided two of his teams (1984 and 1985) to the NAIA World Series.
Jones was introduced by longtime Parkview coach Hugh Buchanan. "He's probably the most uncomfortable person in this room," Buchanan said.
With the exception of one season where Jones was an assistant football and baseball coach at Jackson County, he has spent most of his life playing and coaching football and baseball in Gwinnett County. He boasts a career 400-214 record as a head coach at Brookwood and Mill Creek.
"Coaching baseball is like a ministry to me," Jones said. "It's a calling. It's what God has called me to do. We've had some bumps and bruises along the way, but we've made it.”
Amos holds a 348-181 coaching record. He took Walton to state titles in 2007 and in 2016 while playing in the state's highest classification.
Skipper began his coaching career at Brunswick High School in 1984 as a volunteer assistant while student teaching. He assumed full-time duties in 1985 and remained at the school for the next 28 years. He was an assistant to legendary Brunswick coach Jimmy Brown, who introduced his longtime assistant.
When Brown retired, Skipper took over and guided the program for five years. During Skipper's 28 seasons, he coached in 648 varsity and more than 300 sub-varsity games. He helped more than 35 players continue their careers in college.
Gibson succeeded long-time Mercer skipper Barry Myers in 2004. Gibson has guided the Bears from the depths of the Atlantic Sun Conference to the top of the SoCon as one of the most respected programs in the southeast including an unprecedented run over the last eight years.
Under Gibson’s tutelage, Mercer has set a program record with eight-straight seasons of 35 wins or more. Gibson holds a 470-331 career coaching mark.
Brown has continued to keep Parkview among the state's elite since taking over for Buchanan in 2005. He holds a career coaching mark of 375-137 and has guided the Panthers to three state titles. His 2012 and 2015 state championship teams were also named national champions by several media outlets.
He has coached in several national events. In 2013, he was head coach of the East squad in the Perfect Game All-American Classic. He also led the Team USA 15U squad to a gold medal in the Pan Am Games in 2013. Brown also guided Team USA 15U to a silver medal in the World Games in Mexico in 2014.
The Dugout Club also honored its state players and coaches of the year, while presenting plaques to coaches for milestone wins.
Derek James, Bacon County
Brad Davis, Bleckley County
Chris Gilstrap, Hardaway
Nick Pou, Islands
Jason Bramlett, Oglethorpe County
Beau Edwards, Ola
Billy Roper, Adairsville
Mike Dunfee, Gordon Lee
Erik McDougald, Thomasville
Patrick Smith, Mundy's Mill
David Richardson, Hillgrove
Mark Kimbro, Loganville Christian
Steve Dennis, Columbia
Tim Lemons, Chattahoochee
Billy Nicholson, Johns Creek
Andy Harlin, Blessed Trinity
Tom Cantrell, University of North Georgia
Players and Coaches of the Year awards:
Players - Drew Waters, Etowah and Brant Hurter, Woodstock
Coaches - Greg Robinson, Etowah and Jeff Brown, Woodstock
Players - Jared Miller, Pope and Josh Hatcher, Lee County
Coaches - Jeff Rowland, Pope and Brandon Brock, Lee County
Players - Joseph Brandon, Loganville and Mason Robertson, Wayne County
Coaches - Jeff Segars, Loganville and Justin McDonald, Wayne County
Players - Chris Cathcart, Marist and Colin Davis, Blessed Trinity
Coaches - Mike Strickland, Marist and Andy Harlin, Blessed Trinity
Players - Taber Mongero, North Hall and Stetson Bennett, Pierce County
Coaches - Trent Mongero, North Hall and Andrew Evans, Pierce County
Players - Cody Ogilvie, Jeff Davis and Colton Moon, Elbert County
Coaches - Paul Glass, Jeff Davis and Lance Ingram, Elbert County
Class 1A Public
Players - Will Barry, Schley County and Austin Thomson, Gordon Lee
Coaches - Chuck Cheek, Schley County and Mike Dunfee, Gordon Lee
Class 1A Private
Players - Zack Brockman, Savannah Christian and Trey Ham, Tattnall Square
Coaches - Carl Carter, Savannah Christian and Joey Hiller, Tattnall Square
Fields of the Year
Thomas County Central
Assistant Coaches of the Year
Ben Abner, Woodstock
Mike Foley, Etowah
Chris Turco, Pope
Brian Trivette, Lee County
Jordan Mullis, Wayne County
Trevor Flow, North Hall
Brett Padgett, Elbert County
Jody Sellars, Schley County
Brad Strickland, Allatoona
Evan Deis, Johns Creek
Lee Phelps, LaGrange
Matt Hopkins, Houston County
Andy Fowler, Jefferson
Will Stuckey, Colquitt County
Josh Heath, Locust Grove
Ray Boyer, Walker
Crandall Stamps, Morgan County
Gary Matthews, Flowery Branch
Mike Best, Villa Rica
Scott Strickland, Richmond Hill
Jamie Sexton, Carrollton
Jeff Davis, Madison County