Casey Bates has been a key figure in Alcovy baseball. Now he’s moving to be closer to his daughter, Mallory, who is a fourth-grader in Woodstock.
On June 11 Bates resigned as Alcovy’s baseball coach to take the same position at Pickens High.
Bates has been at Alcovy since the school’s inception in 2006, taking over as the Tigers’ second head baseball coach in 2009.
“They have some good young talent coming up with a couple of freshmen and sophomores who are going to step in,” Bates said. “But in the grand scheme of things I have to do what is best for my family.”
Along with Bates, Ryan Dennison has also been at Alcovy since the beginning, serving as ninth-grade coach and then assistant on the varsity staff. Dennison will now become varsity head coach.
“It’s a great opportunity,” Dennison said. “We’ve built a steady contender every year, and we want to continue that. It’s going to be a fun, great opportunity to coach a successful program and build on what we’ve already started.”
The Tigers finished 21-8, reaching the Class AAAAAA playoffs second round last season and were elite eight finishers in 2010, falling to Marist in the third round of the Class AAAA playoffs.
“There are a lot of memories,” Bates said. “It’s tough leaving Alcovy; they have a bunch of good kids.”
Bates decided it was time to move on due to the reduction of his drive to see his daughter from two hours to 30 minutes. As she gets older, Bates wants to be at her increasing slate of events, including weekend sports and school functions, something he has had trouble with since his divorce roughly five years ago.
Now, as the head coach of the Dragons, he will not only get a chance to spend time with his step-daughter and step-son, who will go with him from Alcovy, but also his daughter.
“I’ve been trying to figure out what I’m going to do and try to get closer to her,” Bates said.
At Alcovy, Bates compiled a 95-50 record in Classes AAAA and AAAAAA, which the Tigers moved to in 2013.
Now he is taking over a Class AAAA program, that went 12-13 last season, and has struggled to reach the state playoffs.
“I haven’t met the players or parents and will be doing that in the middle of July once I get moved up there,” Bates said. “But I look forward to hopefully doing good things there as well.”
Bates met with the Alcovy players after he took the Pickens High School job, letting them know why he was moving on and that Dennison, also in the meeting, would be taking over.
Dennison plans on keeping things similar to how they’ve been at Alcovy, and develop the talent that is coming up from the junior varsity and ninth-grade teams.
“With the bunch coming up, we’re going to be younger, and I expect there to be a learning process,” Dennison said. “The talent level is there that we can make a playoff run in the next year or so.”