When I heard my high school baseball coach was awarded the 2010 National Coach of the Year, I wasn’t shocked. Coach Dean Jones has been a mentor for every player in a Chesnee Eagles uniform for the past 47 years of being head coach. Count that, 47 years. Not only was coaching his job, it was his way of life. With that kind of history, a kid being coached doesn’t even think of questioning his logic. Simply put, Coach Jones could coach a team just by putting his arms on his hips.
I recently visited my home state South Carolina to visit friends and family, and also put a 6:30am photoshoot with Coach Jones on the top of my list. The sun wasn’t out yet, which gave me time to set up. The forecast called for morning showers, but by the time the sun crept through the trees, the clouds and lighting were perfect.
As we were packing up, rain started to drop from the sky. It was almost eerie that the rain held off just in time to finish the shoot. Coach Jones is a legendary coach, but he was also a standout player on the diamond as well. This is the very cap he wore for the San Francisco Giants organization during the 60s’.
Not only is this his awarded season of being the 2010 National Coach of the Year, but it is also his last. There are few things I look back and reminisce about in life, and playing baseball for the Chesnee Eagles is one of them. So when Coach Jones graciously said over and over “Thank you, thank you, thank you” for the photoshoot, I just replied “no, thank you.”