Two icons are woven into the lore of Spring Hill College baseball. One is historic Stan Galle Field, which has been the site of Badger games since 1889. Many consider this the oldest active collegiate baseball field in the United States.
The other legend is Frank Sims, who took over as head coach with three weeks left in the 1985 season. Since then, he has directed the Badgers to 822 victories. Sims has been named as a Conference Coach of the Year on five occasions, most recently for the 2014 Independent Collegiate Athletic Association.
His greatest recognition, though, will take place Friday, Jan. 20, when Sims is inducted into the Alabama Baseball Coaches Association’s Hall of Fame. The banquet will be at the Marriott Hotel on Highway 280 in Birmingham.
“It’s really both an exciting and humbling thing to have happen to you,” Sims said. “When you get into coaching you don’t set a goal of being in a hall of fame. You just want to work with the players and try to win as many games as you can. So while it’s nice to be recognized, it’s really more about the young men who have played the game. They are the ones who have to go out and do the things on and off the field that it takes to win.”
During his time on The Hill, Sims has led the Badgers to 23 20-win seasons, six 30-win campaigns and a pair of 40-win years. Included are four conference championships.Most of the victories came while the Badgers were playing in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. For the last two years, Spring Hill has been a provisional member of Division II in the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
The move to the larger organization has not slowed down the Badgers. During 2015, Spring Hill was a perfect 16-0 in the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association to go with a 26-14 overall record. Last season, SHC again topped the conference with an 18-3 mark while going 29-16 overall.
“I’m so proud of the accomplishments we’ve had at Spring Hill, and we’ve come a long way since 1985,” he said. “I want to thank Spring Hill College and everyone who has been a part of this program.”
Sims got his first collegiate coach experience at Milton College in Wisconsin. The team went 36-10 and reached the NAIA Regional Tournament. He was completing his master’s degree at the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater when he got the call from Mobile.
He has spent time in international competition. Sims coached the U.S. to the 2009 and 2010 championships of Prague Baseball Week, while also coaching American teams to runner-up finishes in 2008 and third-place finishes in 2005 and 2006.
Born in Charleston, Illinois, Sims was a pitcher for the University of Iowa baseball team that was the co-Big Ten Conference champion in 1973. He and his wife, Dana, have four children (Drew and his wife, Caitlin; Sarah and her husband, Charlie Anderson; Kelsey and her husband, Tyler Welch; and their youngest son, Brian) and two grandchildren.
“What makes this even more fun for me is that (St. Paul’s Episcopal head coach) Andy Robbins will be in the same class, and he was my son Drew’s high school coach,” Sims said. “When you think about all of the great names that are in the ALABCA Hall of Fame, it’s really humbling to be included in such good company.”
Those who wish to attend the induction banquet can purchase tickets online at www.alabca.org or with a check payable to ALABCA mailed to 401 South Bolton Ave., Sylacauga, AL 35150. Tickets cost $40 per adult and $20 per child and must be purchased by Jan. 13.
• Starla Daggan set a University of Mobile single-game record by scoring 42 points in a 69-61 Southern States Athletic Conference win over Brenau. For her effort, the senior guard was named the league’s player of the week. She leads the Lady Rams with an average of 23.8 points per game.
• The Battle of Baldwin fishing tournament was recently hosted by Robertsdale High School. The 33 young anglers reeled in 143 fish. The top team was Fairhope, followed respectively by Robertsdale, Spanish Fort, Bayshore, Elberta and Foley. The Total Slam winner was Ian Parish (10.5-inch bass, 20-inch speck, 18-inch redfish, 9.75-inch white trout). Allen Lores landed the top largemouth (21.25 inches), Whit Whitaker the largest white trout (12.5 inches) and Wyatt Johnson the biggest bass (22.75 inches). Coach Corey Stockman organized the event to promote conservation of fisheries while allowing the community’s young people to have fun competing as fishermen.
• University of Mobile’s Hannah Buck was named to the Tachikara-NAIA Volleyball All-America Team. She finished the 2016 season with 480 kills, 134 digs and 70 blocks. Her season high of 22 kills came in the national playoffs against Webber International.
• The 2017 Alabama Waterfowl Stamp art contest is now open through Feb. 15. The competition is open to state residents. Only original horizontal art depicting a species of North American migratory duck or goose will be eligible. (Mallard, American Wigeon and Canada Goose are not eligible, having appeared on the three previous stamps).
• Three judges from the fields of art, ornithology and wildlife conservation will select the winning design for the 2018-19 stamp. Revenues from sale of the stamps are used to purchase, establish or improve migratory waterfowl habitat. For information, call 256-437-2788 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
• University of Mobile’s Leith Rawson competed in the 60th annual NAIA Cross-Country Championships in Elsah, Illinois. The Satsuma native ran a season-best time of 27:27. She was the first UM runner to participate in eight years.