Former South Georgia College coach returns to GJ for honor
Scott Sims figured he would get to Grand Junction for the Alpine Bank Junior College World Series one way or another.
The former South Georgia College baseball coach did — with his team — in his 21st and final season last year.
This year, Sims is returning as an NJCAA Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame inductee.
“That’s what I said, I get to go back,” Sims said. “(Former NJCAA Coaches Association President) Harry Tholen nominated me. I appreciate that he nominated me. I appreciate the committee and all the other coaches that voted me in. It’s very humbling. You’ve got to be humbled when your friends and peers vote you in to something like that.
“I found out at the coaches convention in Los Angeles. That was fun.”
The Tigers were often close to qualifying for the World Series prior to last season.
In Sims’ tenure, South Georgia reached the postseason 18 times, including 16 in a row, but were often eliminated in its regional or district tournament.
Last year, the Tigers overcame several injuries to the pitching staff to win the East Central District tournament and qualify for the World Series for the first time since 1970. South Georgia won one game before it was eliminated, but Sims’ squad left an impression, winning the Homa Thomas Sportsmanship Award.
Sims won 589 games in his 21 seasons and saw 18 of his players drafted, including one (Jason Childers) make it to Major League Baseball.
Sims began his coaching career in his hometown of Kirksville, Ohio, shortly after finishing his college education at Eastern Kentucky University. One year later, he returned to Eastern Kentucky to get a master’s degree and worked as a graduate assistant coach under Jim Ward.
When Sims completed his master’s degree, he found a job coaching baseball, football and basketball at a high school in Georgia.
There, he led the program to two state semifinal appearances in his eight years.
That led him to South Georgia College.
“It seems like yesterday I started there,” Sims said. “At that time, it was a stepping stone to go on to bigger and better things. My wife got pregnant with our first daughter. After the kids started growing, I decided I’ll stick with it.”
Sims committed to the program, working on the field and raising money for the program.
“If there is security in coaching, it’s probably in the junior college level. It’s a good place to spend most of your coaching and teaching career.”
Sims may have retired from coaching the South Georgia College program, but he is still involved in the game and is still teaching part-time.
“I’m working in the school system part-time, helping at the high school where my son is playing,” he said. “It’s been a joy spending time with him and family.”
His son, Luke, is sophomore in high school.
Sims is excited to be back in Grand Junction, reliving the World Series experience and sharing it with his family.
“We’ll watch some games and see some of the things we didn’t see like the (Colorado National) Monument,” he said. “That will be exciting. Seeing how Grand Junction does it and embraces it, it’s unbelievable. It was a wonderful experience.
“I just talked to a former player about it. He said, ‘That’s one of the best experiences of my life. That’s special.’ I said, ‘I agree.’
“The feelings are mutual. It’s everything and more. Every coach I’ve talked to says you’ve got to experience it.”