TIFTON — One of Georgia’s top high school assistant baseball coaches works right here in Tift County.
Taylor Barber, who joined Kyle Kirk’s staff over the summer and doubles as Tift’s softball coach, was honored with a selection recently at the 2020 Georgia Dugout Club Coaches Clinic Awards ceremony.
“It was a surprise to me for sure,” said Barber, who coached under Tony Kirkland at Colquitt County through the 2019 season. He said he only found out he was being honored right before his name was called out. Twenty-seven total assistants were honored across all eight high school divisions in the state.
Barber credits those around him, both coaching staffs and players, for the award. “I’m more proud to have worked on such good staffs in the past,” he said, adding “The kids have as much to do with it as I do.” Barber named off many of his former Colquitt players who made it to the college ranks.
He also thanked “My wife, for letting me do it (coach). She buys into it as much as I do.”
Only a handful of the selections are South Georgians. Boone Webster of Cook was one of the honorees, as were assistants from Cairo and Telfair County.
The plaque, Barber said, will “go up in my man cave.”
Barber is ready for the start of Tift County’s 2020 season. Everyone driving by the high school at night has seen the field lights on and the Blue Devils will get a chance to put their skills on the line in a scrimmage at Perry Feb. 6. A road game at Thomas County Central starts the regular season Feb. 10 before Tift plays at home Feb. 12 against Berrien.
“We had an awesome week of practice,” he said about their work the past few days. Tift is trying to work its way back into the state tournament after missing out the past three seasons.