Some may feel like 30 years of marriage is a long time, but one Newton County resident has dedicated over 30 years to coaching youth baseball.
Terry Ballard, of Oxford, has volunteered and donated 30 years of his time and passion of baseball to the Newton County Recreation Department and the Dixie Boys Association. Terry Ballard was recently honored by the Dixie Boys Association. He received the Dixie Boys Award of Excellence on a nomination from Junior Dixie Boys Deputy Commissioner Tommy Hailey for his many years of coaching and youth involvement.
“Terry Ballard was the example of what a youth coach should be about. He was constantly selected to manage all-star teams for our Dixie Boys program and twice has coached teams in the world series,” Tommy Hailey said.
Terry Ballard is the husband to Angela Dial Ballard and the father of four sons – Shane, Michael, Austin, and Hunter Ballard – and one daughter – Candice Knight. All four of his sons have grown up playing recreation ball, in which Ballard has coached all four.
Terry Ballard started coaching around the year 1978, when his first son Shane Ballard began playing ball at the age of six. Michael Ballard began playing baseball at the age of four, Austin Ballard started at age seven and Hunter Ballard was four years old, all being coached by their dad. In 1989, Terry Ballard led Michael Ballard and the All-Stars Tee League to the championships in Redan.
Hailey said, “Terry Ballard is a great example of what a youth coach should be. This is the Dixie Boys way of saying thank you for the sacrifices and years of service Terry gave to the Newton County Recreation Department.”
There were several years where he coached the all-stars without a son competing on the team. Terry Ballard coached Austin Ballard and the 2004 all-star team where they were undefeated state champions and went on to place fifth at the World Series in Aiken, South Carolina.
In 2006, Terry Ballard – along with coaches Don Ritchey and Darrel Sumner – was a runner up at the State All-Star Tournament that was hosted at home by Newton. He was the appointed coach to the 2010 all-star team and placed third at the state tournament in Columbus. He was also the 2011 appointed coach to the 14 & under all-star team.
Terry Ballard coached two separate Future Stars Teams for Newton County, where he was chosen by the Dixie Boys national director. The games were held in Dothan, Alabama and in 2009 they went undefeated and won the championships. Terry Ballard has coached boys from Texas, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and Kentucky.
People often told Ballard, “You will not want those kids. They’re nothing but trouble,” but those are the kids that Terry Ballard wanted. He always enjoyed coaching them and never had a problem with them on the field. He gave all of the players the same respect and never treated anyone differently. If he did not think his own son was good enough to make the all-stars, he would not nominate him to play. If you ask him if he has any regrets from baseball, he becomes teary eyed and admits that it has hurt him a great deal with the fact that one of his sons never made it on an all-stars team.
Terry Ballard has had the opportunity of coaching some very good baseball players over the years and he always enjoys seeing them whether it be at the ball fields or in town. Jamison Brown, Matt Cook, Nick Hale, Jonathan Blackshear, Peyton Pallay and Kale Blackshear are just a few names among many ball players that Terry Ballard enjoyed coaching and watching grow over the years. Along with great ball players, Terry Ballard has enjoyed working alongside other fellow dedicated coaches. He started coaching with Ted Cleary, Tony Moon and Ricky Vaughn.
Shane Ballard, Michael Ballard, Austin Ballard and Hunter Ballard all have played high school ball and have received many trophies and awards thanks to their father’s dedication to coaching and teaching them the art of the sport. Terry Ballard now enjoys watching his youngest son, Hunter, play high school and legion ball and watching his oldest son, Shane, coach his grandson Lucas on travel ball. But Terry Ballard does not plan on hanging up his coaching uniform just yet. He has three grandsons and a niece that he plans on helping coach as long as he is able.
Father’s Day is here, we would like to give a special thank you to Coach Terry Ballard for his many years dedicated to coaching the youth and being a father-like figure to the boys both on the field and off.
J. Sandy Jones, Commissioner/CEO of Dixie Boys said, “I had the pleasure of meeting and working with Coach Ballard at our Dixie Boys Future Stars Event. Terry Ballard is a true gentleman and has earned the respect of all that have associated with him. I watched as Coach Ballard took a group of young men at our tournament, many participants of which he met for the first time, and molded them together into a successful baseball team. He exemplifies the outstanding qualities and the characteristics of a successful coach and family man through his actions.”