In a self-evaluation of the Apalchee High School baseball program, coach Mike Cavey decided it was best for a change in leadership.
Cavey resigned his position as leader of the Diamond Cats last week and will begin a new chapter in his coaching career at Archer High School for the 2014-2015 season. Many factors played into Cavey’s decision, but an inability to get the team into the state playoffs was part of it.
“It just felt like it was time,” Cavey said Sunday evening. “We had gotten the program and the facilities to a certain point, but didn’t seem like we could take that next step. We won a program best 13 games two years ago. We had always improved on the win total, but then we won 12 games and 10.” The step back in wins was something which weighed on the coach.
“I felt we should have made the playoffs this year,” Cavey said. “I thought maybe my message just wasn’t getting through. Atlanta Falcons coach Mike Smith said recently when you have been at a place a long time you have to change your message or it can get stale. I just didn’t think I had the energy to do that.”
A couple of losses bothered Cavey this spring, one to Winder-Barrow High School on the road and one to Loganville High School, also on the road.
“We were just happy go lucky about losing,” Cavey said. “We liked to win, but we were not upset after a loss. I think a new coach can rekindle the passion for the program. I want to see Apalachee go to the baseball playoffs. When I considered everything involved, it was time for me to step down.”
Cavey has coached the baseball team for seven years and also served as softball coach for six.
He said he initially thought about staying and just coaching softball and if the opportunity at Archer had not come up, he said he might have done that.
However, Cavey’s assistant coaches also resigned (Ryan Hill will be the head softball coach at Lanier High School and Adam Newland is exploring other opportunities.)
“It’s a tough decision,” Cavey said. “However, when I took the job I was contacted by athletic director Brian Moore. There weren’t many applicants for the position. We have built the program and improved on the facilities to the point where I understand several people have inquired about that. That is something I am proud of to have improved the program in several areas.”
Even with the search for a new coach, summer baseball is still set for the Wildcats. Ronnie Miller will coach the team during June.
In an email to parents, Cavey said: “I am proud of the seven years I have been here. With your help and the help of those before you, our facilities have improved tremendously. Our field is now one of the finest in our region, if not the state. Our level of play has risen and we are no longer at the bottom of our region. Our program is respected by the other coaches in our region more now than ever. We have achieved the most wins in a season, a winning season, and three years in a row of double digit wins. I remember hoping to win eight games, but now there has been a standard set. But it is time for someone else to lead your boys and give them what they need to go from the middle of the pack to the top four and in the playoffs.”