BOAZ – Snead State Baseball Coach Gerry Ledbetter was recently recognized for winning his 500th baseball game.
Ledbetter was recognized at the last regular season home game of the 2014 season against Calhoun Community College.
His 500th win came on Feb. 18 against Shorter College. The Parsons defeated Shorter 10-1.
"Winning 500 games is great. It means I have been here long time," said Coach Ledbetter. "It wasn't me; it was the boys that got me to 500. I've enjoyed being around the kids all these years."
Coach Ledbetter has been at Snead State since 1992. During his tenure at Snead State, he has had eight players sign professional contracts and over 135 players sign four-year scholarships.
"The biggest difference between when I started coaching and now is we have the full support of the administration. They've done a lot to help our facilities. This makes it easier to recruit good kids," said Coach Ledbetter.
Coach Ledbetter also expressed his thanks to his assistant coaches.
"When coaches win games, a lot of times it's because of good assistant coaches. Coach (Casey) Underwood, Coach (Jerry Wayne) Hallmark and Coach (David) Russo have helped us tremendously over the years," said Ledbetter.
Current Snead State Assistant Coach Casey Underwood has not only coached alongside Coach Ledbetter since 2005 but is also a former player of Coach Ledbetter's.
"In 2003, Coach Ledbetter gave me the opportunity as a walk on from Florida to play baseball at Snead State. Eventually, I earned a scholarship. He gives everyone that plays for him an opportunity. It doesn't matter if they're a walk on or a scholarship player. Everyone gets the same opportunity," said Coach Underwood.
"It's been a pleasure to spend the last 11 years with Coach Ledbetter. He's a father-figure to me and every kid he coaches. He and Mrs. Led take care of our team like we are all family. He sets a great example to everyone that's around him."
This year, Coach Ledbetter's team excelled not only on the field but in the classroom as well. For the first time ever, each sophomore on the baseball team graduated with their Associate degree from Snead State. There were 20 sophomores this year.
"Coach Ledbetter has been a tremendous role model for the hundreds of young men that have passed through Snead State," said Snead State Athletic Director Mark Richard. "He spends a lot on the field, in study hall and in his office assisting these young men and helping them mature. It has been a true honor to be associated with a man of such high character as Gerry Ledbetter."
He has been involved in sports camps and numerous community service activities as the leader of the Parsons. He is a member of the Marshall County Sports Hall of Fame.
Ledbetter graduated from Boaz High School in 1965. He is a 1969 graduate of Jacksonville State University. During his high school career, Coach Ledbetter played football, baseball and basketball for the Pirates. He signed a baseball scholarship to Jacksonville State University.
At JSU, Coach Ledbetter was one of two Gamecock players to be named to the NAIA Little All-American Team. In his Little All-American year, he excelled on defense and batted .406 for the season. He hit .320 or better each year of the four years he played at JSU, a school record.
Upon graduation, Coach Ledbetter accepted a coaching position at Sardis High School. He also had a brief stint at Cleburne County High School and taught at Douglas High School from 1972-1992.
At Douglas, his varsity boys' basketball team won the area tournament four years and finished in the finals three more years. He also coached football and initiated a new varsity baseball program.
He is married to his wife, Carolyn. They have two sons, Stephen and Luke. They have one grandson, Dalton. Coach Ledbetter attends First Baptist Church Boaz.
Pictured: Snead State Baseball Coach Gerry Ledbetter, middle, was recently recognized for winning his 500th baseball game. His 500th win came on Feb. 18 against Shorter College. The Parsons defeated Shorter 10-1. He is pictured with Snead State President Dr. Robert Exley, left, and Snead State Athletic Director Mark Richard, right.