Legendary Georgia baseball coach Bobby Howard retires

Legendary Georgia baseball coach Bobby Howard retires

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Legendary Georgia baseball coach Bobby Howard retires

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Columbus, Ga., baseball coach Bobby Howard, shown in this 2004 photo, retired Thursday. (Photo: Michael A. Schwarz)

Columbus, Ga., baseball coach Bobby Howard, shown in this 2004 photo, retired Thursday. (Photo: Michael A. Schwarz)

One of the most successful high school baseball coaches in Georgia announced his surprise retirement after practice Thursday.

In 31 years at Columbus, Bobby Howard has won 819 games, 12 state titles and coached players such as Hall of Famer Frank Thomas.

“I have earned the right to move on,” Howard told the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer.  “I couldn’t give it all the time it deserved. The job was demanding much more than I could give. … CHS is not a job, it is my life.”

After saying less than a month ago that he goes “year to year” and is “still engaged,” Howard said Thursday that, “They deserve a coach in the best frame of mind, and I couldn’t give it to them.” He declined to go into more specifics as to why he was retiring other than to say it was not health related.

Assistant coach and athletic director Chad Mathis will assume the head coaching duties. He declined comment to Ledger-Enquirer.
 
School superintendent David Lewis said he no indication that Howard would resign.
 
“He just said it was a personal decision on his part,” Lewis told the Ledger-Enquirer. “There were things in his life that he felt that it was time to make that decision. … He was not forced out. He was not asked to resign. This was personally and solely his decision.”
 
Davis said what those things were are Howard’s business and he “respects that.”
 
Howard has been at Columbus since 1984, other than a one-year break when he coached at junior college. He previously coached at Jordan and Kendrick and has won more than 900 games overall. 
 
During his Hall of Fame speech in Cooperstown, Thomas lauded his former coach: “You made me grow up in a hurry,” Thomas said. “Your no-nonsense approach to the game was needed at an early age. Winning was the only option, you preached that. And you made me work for it. … You set my foundation for life. Love you. And I thank you.”

 

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