IDER — This is the 17th installment in a question-and-answer series with DeKalb County coaches, taking a look at their playing journeys and their coaching experiences. In Part 17, The Times-Journal interviewed Ider baseball coach Casey Gaddis.
Q: How long have you worked as both an assistant coach and a head coach?
A: I just completed my fourth season as a head coach at Ider High School (my alma mater). My last two years in college at Athens State, I served as a volunteer assistant for the baseball team (six total seasons with baseball). I also work with the football program where I have served as the junior high head coach for the last four years. I started volunteer coaching right out of high school at Ider. Before I was hired officially on May 17, 2016, I volunteered with our pee-wee football program for two years. I coached rec girls basketball for three years and helped coach (Brent) Tinker with the high school football program as an assistant every year while in college. Throughout all of my coaching experience, I have remained at Ider.
Q: What led you to coaching?
A: I knew from an early age that there was only one profession that would fill me with great joy, and that was being an Ider Hornet. My late father [Gary Gaddis], coach Jimmy Blevins [little league baseball coach], coach (Tommy) Wells and coach Tinker and the relationships I had/have with them solidified my choice of being a coach, but more importantly, representing the black and gold for a lifetime. The last few months without my father have been really tough but the messages he preached to me, along with coach Blevins, coach Wells and coach Tinker have kept me going and have helped me reach out to our kids who are going through their lives without a father as well.
Q: How far did your playing career take you?
A: My playing career finished in high school. I was recruited by Shorter and Birmingham-Southern, but I decided to attend Northeast Alabama Community College and Athens State. I made this decision to stay close to home to help my family and get a jump start to my career by becoming a volunteer coach.
Q: Who are the coaches who most impacted the way you instruct your athletes?
A: The two coaches who have impacted my life the most are coach Tommy Wells and coach Brent Tinker. These two men guided me from a young age about how to live my life the right way. Coach Wells and coach Tinker coached Ider football for over 30 years. As a young kid my father, coach Wells and I spent many days at the field. My father and coach Wells instilled in me early how special it was, is and always will be to be an Ider Hornet. Fast forward to my junior high years, I had the honor to play for coach Tinker all the way through high school. Coach Tinker is a great coach but an even better man and Christian role model. The two quotes that I use in my daily walk with Christ and as a young coach are, [from Wells] ‘If you work hard enough long enough, you will be successful.’ [From Tinker] ‘Your reputation is what everyone thinks of you. Your character is who you are when no one is around.’”
Q: Do you also teach at Ider? If so, what subject?
A: I just completed my fourth school year at Ider. I am a math teacher and have taught middle school and will be teaching high school courses in August.
Q: What encourages you about the future of Ider’s baseball program?
A: The most exciting part about the future of our program is the players I am blessed to coach daily. We have a great group of young men who I hope and pray become great future husbands and fathers with the lessons they have learned in our program. This offseason we have used our time wisely. We are currently renovating our playing field. We have replaced our chain-link fence backstop with a new block wall and netting system. We are also converting our infield from all dirt to grass. The opportunity to provide current and future Ider Hornets with the best athletic experience is something I take pride in. I have been an Ider Hornet my entire life and seeing these upgrades take place is something my father and I talked about for years.
Q: What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
A: I spend a lot of time with my fiancé, family and friends. We have been planning a wedding since last December, and we are getting married in October. I am fortunate to have such an amazing inner circle that blesses me daily. Being from a family of six kids, we are still old school, and around 20 of us still eat at my grandparents’ house every Sunday after church.