Tifton Gazette

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July 2, 2014

Tankersley comes full circle at Irwin

From batboy to player to new head coach

TIFTON — If Irwin County Indian baseball players want to see the credentials of their new head coach, they need only look at the championship boards that surround the school’s baseball field. You will see the name of Drew Tankersley on most of those boards.

Tankersley, recently named the new Indian head baseball coach, was the batboy for a majority of those championship squads. His father, Cliff, was the head coach at the school at that time.

Soon to be 28 years old, Tankersley spent the last six years at Berrien High as an assistant coach. He went to work in Nashville after his own playing career at Irwin County, and getting his degree from Valdosta State University.

After his time with the Rebels of Berrien, the opportunity came up to return to his high school alma mater. He quickly applied for the job.

“It was always a dream of mine, and when the opportunity came up, I jumped at it,” said Tankersley. “It worked out for me, and I am excited to get started.”

While still a very young man, Tankersley thinks it is ironic that he will now be the head coach for some players for whose fathers he was batboy in the 90s.

“Dad and I were just talking about that the other day. I know (senior) Caleb Morgan will be a big part of our team next season, and his dad, Allen, played on those teams,” said Tankersley. “Also, Will Hudson will be on our JV as an eighth grader, and his dad, Trey, was also a big part of those teams in the 90s.”

But, while “feeling a little old,” Tankersley also hopes his age will be a benefit as he works with a new generation of Indian players.

“I hope I will be able to relate to them since I am still a relatively young man,” said the new Irwin coach.

He hopes players notice his championship resume at the school.

“I just hope we can get a lot of guys out that want to play,” said Tankersley.

Until baseball season, Tankersley will serve as the wide receivers coach for the Irwin football team, under another new Indian head coach, Buddy Nobles.


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