DeKalb County High School has a new baseball coach.
Tracy Slone of Murfreesboro succeeds long time coach Scott Odom who recently resigned the position. The announcement was made Monday by DCHS Principal Patrick Cripps after which Coach Slone met for the first time with DCHS baseball players and parents. "I would like to welcome Coach Slone to our baseball program. He has a great reputation around Tennessee High School baseball and we're excited to have him here with us," said Cripps.
Slone is a native of Indiana and a graduate of Cumberland University in Lebanon where he pitched on the Bulldogs’ first World Series team in 1988. He played two seasons of minor league baseball in the New York Yankees and Oakland A’s organizations.
For the last two years, Slone has been an assistant baseball coach at Siegel High School in Murfreesboro. Prior to coaching at Siegel he was the head coach at Lebanon High School from 2005-2011, Lincoln County High School from 1994-2004, and at Lakeland High in LaGrange, Indiana. During his prep coaching career, Sloan won more than 350 games and has seen 70 of his former players go on to play at the college level and three more sign pro contracts.
"I grew up in northern Indiana," said Coach Slone in an interview with WJLE Monday. "After high school, I went to a Junior College in Kansas and then to Cumberland University on a baseball scholarship at both places. After Cumberland, I had an opportunity to sign a professional contract with the Oakland A's organization. I played a little bit with them and then I joined the New York Yankees organization. I was a left handed pitcher but developed some elbow problems. I still got the opportunity to play a little professional baseball and nobody can ever take that away from me," said Coach Slone.
According to Principal Cripps, Coach Slone was one of many applicants for the job but he seemed to stand out. "I knew this was going to be a big hire," said Cripps. "The program is important to me. It was important to get a solid guy. Somebody to not only coach baseball and coach the right way but to be a leader of men. We had people from all over to apply for the position. I had people from Kentucky, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, from the east to west and north to south in Tennessee. I had a ton of applications. But everybody I talked to about Coach Slone said he is a solid baseball guy and more importantly, he is a solid man. Somebody you would want your son playing for," said Principal Cripps.
Perhaps the highest praise for Coach Slone came from legendary and Hall of Fame head coach Woody Hunt of Cumberland University . "I was going to a conference and got an email from Coach Slone saying that he was interested in the job. I got back from that conference and was sitting at the house when Coach Hunt called me and told me a little bit about Coach Slone. How many times does a Hall of Fame coach call you wanting to make a recommendation for a hire? When you have somebody call of Coach Hunt's stature and you look at the wins he (Coach Slone) has had and how many kids he has seen go to college, it's just a win-win for us," said Principal Cripps.
Coach Slone told WJLE that after two years as an assistant, he looks forward to being a head coach again. "I was a head coach for nineteen years before becoming an assistant at Siegel. I wanted to be a head coach again and I happened to be looking on TSSAA and noticed DeKalb County (had an opening). I'm excited. I've always coached at Triple-A schools but this is the size of town and school I like. There is a good tradition in baseball here and I want to win games but my main goal is to do it the right way. I want the kids to act the right way on and off the field and set good examples for the program," said he said.
Coach Slone and his wife Tracy have two children. "Chase is a senior and Jordan, my daughter is going to be in sixth grade. We live at Walter Hill," he said.
In addition to his baseball head coaching duties, Coach Slone is being hired as a wellness teacher at DCHS. "I've always coached at one school and teached at another so this is the first time I've actually been at the school that I coach at so this is exciting for me," he said.
Coach Slone has a B.S. degree in Education from Cumberland University in Lebanon. He has been a P.E. teacher for 5th-12th grade at MAP Academy in Lebanon since 2005.