Coach James Inducted Into GACA Hall of - Fame
Coach James Inducted Into GACA Hall of
Courtesy of VHS
During his 30-year tenure as the head coach of the Vidalia High School Baseball team, Coach Greg James won two State Championships and 489 games. On Saturday in Dalton, Coach James received the highest award for a High School Coach in Georgia, as he was inducted into the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association (GACA) Hall of Fame. “I’m very honored and thrilled to be recognized and to receive the honor of being in the Coaches Hall of Fame.,” said James.
A contingency of over 25 family members, former players, and supporters gathered in the Dalton Convention Center, which is home to the HOF, to watch Vidalia Principal Bruce Mulkey induct James into the Hall. “This is not about how many games or how many State Championships Coach James has won. This is not about how many region titles or how many players he has had go on to college and the pros to play. Today is about Greg James, the man, and what he has meant to countless individuals, including me, and how he has effected each one.”
Mulkey, who was on James’ first team at Vidalia, told several stories from former players and that Coach James used baseball to teach young men “the value of being something bigger than themselves and that there is no greater calling than service to others.” Mulkey then shared the stories of Vidalia super fan Ronnie Turner and former player Timothy Simpson, who credits James for “saving his life” when he was in prison for armed robbery continued from page
and attempted murder.
James, who was raised in Vidalia and went through the Vidalia City School system and then returned to coach and teach at Vidalia for 31 years, said that when he received the call that he had been voted into the Hall of Fame, the first thing he thought about was his mentors, Coach Chunk Reid, and Buck Cravey, who are both also in the Hall of Fame, “I guess the first thing I thought about was Coach Reed and Coach Cravey, you know, they’re both in and, what an honor to go into the Hall with those two men. Those two men I looked up to so much and learned so much from, as a student and from coaching with them.”
Ever humbling, Coach James deflected any credit for his accomplishments, saying that he was “blessed to have great players and coaches along the way.”
James was also quick to thank his wife Mary, who, despite being a 30year teacher herself, “I tell people all the time if there was a hall of fame for coaches’ wives, she would be in it. Being a coach’s wife can be tough, and she did a great job handling it, helping us with our baseball camps, and making sure Derek and Drew were where they were supposed to be when I wasn’t there.”
James also thanked all those who supported him and the baseball program throughout his tenure. “It doesn’t matter what we’re doing; there’s gonna be fan support. The community’s always been there. Anything we’ve ever needed, they supported our kids. We always tried to take a lot of pride and represent Vidalia well, and I will say, I feel like our players always did that.”
James closed by saying that the award was going to be shared by everyone, “I just want every, every player and assistant coach, to know that I’m representing them. Because they were there for everything, and I appreciate being able to represent Vidalia High School and the baseball program.”