“Coaching is a vehicle for teaching life skills.”
Thomasville – Brian Roundtree is passionate about baseball, coaching, and building a sense of community with his players and staff. The Head Coach of the HP-Thomasville HiToms organization builds a culture for players to deal with both success and adversity and encourages their integrity, character, spiritual life, and discipline. He wants players and coaches to build relationships, learn the history and tradition of baseball, and concentrate on improving athletic skills. Roundtree credits his mentors for much of his success.
“My opportunities in college and later in life have come from my coaches’ influence; they have pushed me to be better.”
He grew up in Riverdale, GA and played for coaches Tommy Barber and Doug Casey at DeKalb College. Red-shirted for an injury while at DeKalb, Barber helped Roundtree work on his pitching game, encouraging him “… to be the best version of me I could be.”
That year, the team won the GA State Junior College Championship and Roundtree was named a Junior College All-American.
He moved to the University of South Carolina (USC) in 1988-1989 to play for Coach June Raines. In his senior year, Roundtree was drafted by the Detroit Tigers and played for the Tigers in 1989-1990, returning to USC to complete his college degree and coach for June Raines. Roundtree had planned to enter the criminal justice field; but “God stepped in and kept me in coaching and it’s something I have enjoyed from day one.”
Roundtree shared an experience with his players at USC. A fan, Taylor McIntyre, at-tended all the games but was confined to a wheelchair. During one game, the team was tired and suffering from injuries, not playing their best. Roundtree reminded them that McIntyre would trade places with any one of them to be on the field. He told the team, “Play your best; give 100 per cent of what you have; act better than you feel.”
The team pulled through and dedicated that game to Taylor.
Roundtree went to Louisiana Tech in Ruston, LA to coach with Randy Davis in 1995 and was there until September 2014 when he joined the HP-Thomasville HiToms. The organization aspires to build continuity with its players. They offer baseball camps in the summer months for children ages 6 to 13, and sponsor an American Legion Post 87 team of high school players. The HP-Thomasville HiToms college team plays in the Coastal Plain League, currently considered the second-best league for college players. Some of these players are fortunate to join professional leagues.
According to Roundtree, “Players join the HiToms to improve their skills and increase their roles at their respective schools.” Students in sports management, sports marketing, and sports medicine work as interns from May to August to help the staff and receive career guidance. In the off-season. Roundtree recruits players for the HP-Thomasville HiToms and visits with other coaches while attending baseball practice at local schools.
His family and friends have formed a good support team during his coaching journey, and his wife Kimberlie understands the pressures experienced by a coach. At the end of the day, Roundtree believes that he “…must mentor players and coaches who come through the HP-Thomasville HiToms program; I owe them an opportunity that will increase their roles at their respective schools. I’ve been blessed, and I want to give back.”
Roundtree encourages everyone to attend the games, to enjoy baseball and interact with the players. This is what he means about building community, having all ages interact in the love of baseball!
Visit the HP-Thomasville HiToms website at www.hitoms.com for their schedule.
This profile story is dedicated to the memory of Kevin Reid, one of our contributing writers. Kevin initially conducted the interview and provided the photos for this story in late February of this year. He had partially written the story, but was unable to complete it. He was hospitalized for a sudden onset of medical conditions which ended his life in late March.
Thank you to Julie Dayvault for picking up where Kevin left off finishing what is the last story Kevin had worked on. We know Kevin would want to see this last profile story published and he is smiling down from Heaven after the good read. May you rest in peace Kevin.