BOAZ – Snead State Community College Assistant Baseball Coach Casey Underwood has been named the 2014 Assistant Baseball Coach of the Year by the Alabama Baseball Coaches Association.
Coach Underwood received the award on January 16 at the group's annual Coaches Convention in Birmingham.
"It's an honor to be recognized but the real honor lies in being able to coach such an incredible group of young men we have in our program year after year," said Coach Underwood.
"I want to thank Coach (Gerry) Ledbetter. He gave me a chance and believed in me. And, he and Mrs. Led have taken me in all these years. I also must thank our President, Dr. (Robert) Exley, and our Athletic Director, Mark Richard, for the opportunity they have given me to do what I love and for providing us with the resources we need to run a top-notch program."
Coach Underwood came to Snead State as a walk-on baseball player from Glades Day School in Florida in 2003 and earned a baseball scholarship after one semester. He fully bought into Snead State and its mission and has never left. Casey graduated from Snead State and became the assistant baseball coach. This year, he was also an Alabama Community College System Chancellor's Award recipient.
"Casey has been with me ever since he played baseball at Snead State. After graduating, he became my assistant coach. He possesses the most important quality an assistant coach should have – loyalty. He is very loyal to our program, and without him, I don't think we could succeed," said Snead State Head Baseball Coach Gerry Ledbetter.
"He is instrumental in recruiting new players and demonstrates the integrity and sincere concern for the well-being of our players. He continues to have close relationships with several of our former players, which speaks to the quality of experience they had with him."
As the assistant baseball coach, Coach Underwood is over the team's practice organization and hitters. He is responsible for training, motivating, coaching and recruiting athletes to play at Snead State. He stresses to student-athletes that their performance in the classroom is just as important as their performance on the field.
For the first time in the history of the Snead State baseball program, all 20 sophomores graduated in 2014, which speaks to the effort and time Coach Underwood put into seeing student-athletes succeed. Sixteen players from the past two seasons have signed with four-year colleges.
"Three years ago, our athletic department implemented a 'new direction,' which emphasized graduation rates, cost cutting, fundraising and much stricter recruiting rules. Casey embraced the new rules and even implemented higher goals for the baseball team. He has been one of the most vocal supporters of the new direction," said Athletic Director Mark Richard. "He is loyal, always positive team player and a true ambassador for our College."
In 2014, the baseball team finished second in the ACCC North, which sent them to the state tournament for the third season in a row. Additionally, Coach Underwood maintains the baseball booster program and oversees the team's fall baseball league, 20-for-20 fundraiser and the annual golf tournament. He also oversees 86 students and six resident assistants in the dorm and works in security and maintenance as needed.
Coach Underwood is a graduate of Snead State. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Sports Management from Ashford University in 2012. He is a current board member of the Alabama Baseball Coaches Association and is an associate scout for the Atlanta Braves.
Pictured from left is ALaBCA Executive Director Barry Dean, Coach Underwood, and Awards Banquet Director Morris Phillips.