COVINGTON — Alcovy’s baseball way of doing things will basically remain even with a new head coach as former assistant coach Ryan Denison was recently named to take over head coaching duties for the Tigers.
“But when Casey (Bates) became head coach and we started sharing ideas back and forth it we found we were similar in a lot of things. So for the kids transition it’s not going to be all that different and I think that’s going to help a lot too,” Denison said. “We have continuity. We’re changing coaches but we’re not changing philosophies.
“That was one of the reasons we worked so well with Casey, we all share similar philosophies approaching defense and offense. We all kind of shared the same ideas and that’s what made us work well together. After being under a couple of head coaches, even before I came to Georgia, I always nitpicked about what I would do differently if I were head coach.”
Under Bates, he expected his players to take care of their school work and more importantly behave in the classroom and in the community. While little will change as far as what is expected from the players and how things will get done and on the field, one thing that will change under Denison is what else is expected from the players.
“We’re going to try to get into the weight room a little bit more. The biggest thing we’ve (Denison and Bates) talked about over the past couple of years is getting more weight room involvement and developing the kids as athletes. We have kids that are good baseball players and kids that are athletes. We want to develop those kids athletes into baseball players and those baseball players into better athletes so we can be a better program all together,” he said.
With his players out for the summer playing on American Legion baseball teams and other travel teams throughout the area Denison knows that it’s difficult to get everyone together. But he still has had a good turnout during open weight training on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. What Denison is looking forward to his January and February when he can get everyone together to start his head coaching debut.
Denison started coaching football and baseball while still in college back in 1998. Even though he’s been around of different programs with different ways of doing things as an assistant, this is the first time his name will be first.
“It’s a little bit of a different hat and I think it’s going to be a challenge for me to take over that role. That’s what I look for and I think it’s going to be fun too at the same time. We built this program up and we’re going to continue doing what we’ve been doing for the past four years with me and Casey,” Denison said.
Also helping build Alcovy’s program was Chad Gillespie who left last season to take over at Jackson High School in Butts County. But now it’s going fall on Denison to take the team to the next level.
“Me and Casey had been there since Alcovy opened up and we made it into what I think is a pretty good program. That’s kind of what I want to continue. We have a great young crop of kids coming up, talented kids. Last year we made it to the second round. I’m not saying that we’ll be in the second round again this year, but we’re going to be contending in the playoffs,” Denison said.
“It’s not like they’re getting someone completely new who doesn’t know them or know the community or the system. I think that continuity will help out a lot. Plus I get along great with all the kids and they’re a great bunch of kids. There’s a lot of great parental involvement and it’s been fun with the baseball program since I’ve been there and hopefully we can take it to the next level and hopefully, take it past that third round.”