30 years strong

A base­ball coach and his love for the game

The Covington News - - SPORTS - Candice Knight wrote this col­umn as a Fa­ther’s Day gift to her fa­ther Terry Bal­lard. Knight is a proud stay-at-home mom, and she’s also a pho­tog­ra­pher. She cur­rently lives in Ox­ford with her hus­band and son.

Some may feel like 30 years of mar­riage is a long time, but one New­ton County res­i­dent has ded­i­cated over 30 years to coach­ing youth base­ball.

Terry Bal­lard, of Ox­ford, has vol­un­teered and do­nated 30 years of his time and pas­sion of base­ball to the New­ton County Re­cre­ation Depart­ment and the Dixie Boys As­so­ci­a­tion. Terry Bal­lard was re­cently hon­ored by the Dixie Boys As­so­ci­a­tion. He re­ceived the Dixie Boys Award of Ex­cel­lence on a nom­i­na­tion from Ju­nior Dixie Boys Deputy Com­mis­sioner Tommy Hai­ley for his many years of coach­ing and youth in­volve­ment.

“Terry Bal­lard was the ex­am­ple of what a youth coach should be about. He was con­stantly selected to man­age all- star teams for our Dixie Boys pro­gram and twice has coached teams in the world se­ries,” Tommy Hai­ley said.

Terry Bal­lard is the hus­band to An­gela Dial Bal­lard and the fa­ther of four sons – Shane, Michael, Austin, and Hunter Bal­lard – and one daugh­ter – Candice Knight. All four of his sons have grown up play­ing re­cre­ation ball, in which Bal­lard has coached all four.

Terry Bal­lard started coach­ing around the year 1978, when his first son Shane Bal­lard be­gan play­ing ball at the age of six. Michael Bal­lard be­gan play­ing base­ball at the age of four, Austin Bal­lard started at age seven and Hunter Bal­lard was four years old, all be­ing coached by their dad. In 1989, Terry Bal­lard led Michael Bal­lard and the All- Stars Tee League to the cham­pi­onships in Redan.

Hai­ley said, “Terry Bal­lard is a great ex­am­ple of what a youth coach should be. This is the Dixie Boys way of say­ing thank you for the sac­ri­fices and years of ser­vice Terry gave to the New­ton County Re­cre­ation Depart­ment.”

There were sev­eral years where he coached the all- stars with­out a son com­pet­ing on the team. Terry Bal­lard coached Austin Bal­lard and the 2004 all- star team where they were un­de­feated state cham­pi­ons and went on to place fifth at the World Se­ries in Aiken, South Carolina.

In 2006, Terry Bal­lard – along with coaches Don Ritchey and Dar­rel Sum­ner – was a run­ner up at the State All- Star Tour­na­ment that was hosted at home by New­ton. He was the ap­pointed coach to the 2010 all- star team and placed third at the state tour­na­ment in Columbus. He was also the 2011 ap­pointed coach to the 14 & un­der all- star team.

Terry Bal­lard coached two sep­a­rate Fu­ture Stars Teams for New­ton County, where he was cho­sen by the Dixie Boys na­tional di­rec­tor. The games were held in Dothan, Alabama and in 2009 they went un­de­feated and won the cham­pi­onships. Terry Bal­lard has coached boys from Texas, Alabama, Ge­or­gia, Ten­nessee and Ken­tucky.

People of­ten told Bal­lard, “You will not want those kids. They’re noth­ing but trou­ble,” but those are the kids that Terry Bal­lard wanted. He al­ways en­joyed coach­ing them and never had a prob­lem with them on the field. He gave all of the play­ers the same re­spect and never treated any­one dif­fer­ently. If he did not think his own son was good enough to make the all- stars, he would not nom­i­nate him to play. If you ask him if he has any re­grets from base­ball, he be­comes teary eyed and ad­mits that it has hurt him a great deal with the fact that one of his sons never made it on an all­stars team.

Terry Bal­lard has had the op­por­tu­nity of coach­ing some very good base­ball play­ers over the years and he al­ways en­joys see­ing them whether it be at the ball fields or in town. Jamison Brown, Matt Cook, Nick Hale, Jonathan Black­s­hear, Pey­ton Pal­lay and Kale Black­s­hear are just a few names among many ball play­ers that Terry Bal­lard en­joyed coach­ing and watch­ing grow over the years. Along with great ball play­ers, Terry Bal­lard has en­joyed work­ing along­side other fel­low ded­i­cated coaches. He started coach­ing with Ted Cleary, Tony Moon and Ricky Vaughn.

Shane Bal­lard, Michael Bal­lard, Austin Bal­lard and Hunter Bal­lard all have played high school ball and have re­ceived many tro­phies and awards thanks to their fa­ther’s ded­i­ca­tion to coach­ing and teach­ing them the art of the sport. Terry Bal­lard now en­joys watch­ing his youngest son, Hunter, play high school and legion ball and watch­ing his old­est son, Shane, coach his grand­son Lu­cas on travel ball. But Terry Bal­lard does not plan on hang­ing up his coach­ing uni­form just yet. He has three grand­sons and a niece that he plans on help­ing coach as long as he is able.

Fa­ther’s Day is here, we would like to give a spe­cial thank you to Coach Terry Bal­lard for his many years ded­i­cated to coach­ing the youth and be­ing a fa­ther- like fig­ure to the boys both on the field and off.

J. Sandy Jones, Com­mis­sioner/ CEO of Dixie Boys said, “I had the plea­sure of meet­ing and work­ing with Coach Bal­lard at our Dixie Boys Fu­ture Stars Event. Terry Bal­lard is a true gen­tle­man and has earned the re­spect of all that have as­so­ci­ated with him. I watched as Coach Bal­lard took a group of young men at our tour­na­ment, many par­tic­i­pants of which he met for the first time, and molded them to­gether into a suc­cess­ful base­ball team. He ex­em­pli­fies the out­stand­ing qual­i­ties and the char­ac­ter­is­tics of a suc­cess­ful coach and fam­ily man through his ac­tions.”

sub­mit­ted photo /The Cov­ing­ton News

Terry Bal­lard poses for a photo with his award and Deputy Com­mis­sioner Tommy Hai­ley. Bal­lard, who has been coach­ing in the recre­ational league for over 30 years, re­ceived the Dixie Boys Award of Ex­cel­lence from New­ton County Re­cre­ation Depart­ment and the Dixie Boys As­so­ci­a­tion. Hai­ley said this was the Dixie Boys way of say­ing thank you for Terry Bal­lard's years of sac­ri­fice and ser­vices.

Candice Knight

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