CARBON HILL — Blaine Eads has been coaching baseball in the high school ranks since he was in college.
Now he’s returning home to coach his alma mater. Eads is the new baseball coach at Carbon Hill High School.
“It kind of happened really fast. The job opened up the last week of school,” said Eads, who graduated from Carbon Hill in 2012. “I got a phone call (about the position) on Tuesday and was hired on Thursday. It went really quick.”
After graduating from Carbon Hill, Eads played two years of college ball at Lurleen B. Wallace Community College in Andalusia before getting his degree from Auburn University in 2017.
He spent four years as an assistant coach at Beauregard High School in Lee County, the first as a volunteer. As a member of the Hornets staff, he was part of a progam that advanced to the second round of the playoffs twice and made the third round once. Eads spent the last two years as an assistant coach at Cordova under Buster Howell, whom Eads called a great mentor.
During his playing days at Carbon Hill, Eads played shortstop and pitcher. The Bulldogs advanced to the second round of the playoffs in his senior season, falling to Winfield. Eads played for three different coaches in his four years on the varsity team. The Bulldogs haven’t had much stability at the head coaching position since. Carbon Hill has had at least 10 coaches since 2008.
Philip Smith took over the job last season, guiding the Bulldogs to the playoffs despite playing just two home games. The Carbon Hill dugouts were damaged in the Easter 2020 tornado and the team wasn’t able to return to the field until the new dugouts were completed toward the end of the 2021 season.
Eads will be the third head coach in the last four years.
“Having someone in here that cares about this place is the best way to turn the program around. You take a little more pride in it,” Eads said. “Coming back and seeing people after you’ve been gone for eight or nine years has been nice. I’ve had a ton of phone calls. The community is excited. So we hope to turn this thing around.”
Carbon Hill placed second in the area last year, finishing as the runner up behind Winfield and in front of county rival Oakman.
The Bulldogs gave Geraldine a scare in the opening round of the playoffs, losing 5-2 and 4-3 in their best-of-three series.
“This team didn’t lose many seniors so we will have the core of the team coming back. The big thing is that we will have a decent size senior class. We will have to get the seniors to buy in culture-wise and let them lay the foundation,” said Eads, 27, who will be a special education teacher at Carbon Hill.
“What I’m going to tell them is that when we play, win or lose, this will be a hard-nosed baseball team that will get after it. That’s what I’ve hung my hat on everywhere I’ve been. That is going to be our standard for years to come.”