'A dream come true'

Josh Podoris took the Childersburg baseball coaching job on June 11.

Just over a decade ago, Josh Podoris was a standout baseball player at Childersburg.

Now, he is the head coach at his alma mater. 

Podoris, who was a member of the last state championship team at Childersburg, in 2007, accepted the offer to be the next Childersburg head coach June 11.

“It is a dream come true,” Podoris said. “I have been a part of a lot of big-time wins here. 

“Getting a chance to come back and coach at a school where I have so many great memories is incredible. These kids are eager to learn, and they are willing to work hard. 

“I would like to thank the administration for giving me a chance to be the head coach. It means the world to me.”

Podoris is not new to Childersburg. 

He served as an assistant coach for the Tigers for the past three seasons. Overall, he has six years of coaching experience, which he believes will help him as a head coach.

“I have coached with good coaches that I have learned a lot from and I have taken some of the stuff from them,” Podoris said. “I feel like I am prepared and I am excited.

“My first head coaching job is where I played, and that is incredible. I love this place; it is home for me. The community, the administration, the students and players at the school, there is no other place that I would rather be.”

Podoris takes for Childersburg alum Cory Williams. 

In four seasons at the helm, Williams led the Tigers to one postseason appearance, which came in 2016.

Podoris has hopes of leading the baseball program back to being a perennial power in Class 4A.

“We have to get back to the playoffs year in and year out,” Podoris said. “Childersburg baseball is built on tradition, and to get back into the playoff picture year in and year out (is important). 

“That is going to take a lot of hard work. It is not going to happen overnight. We have been working all summer already in the weight room as well as in the field, and the kids have really bought in.”

The Tigers finished 8-17 in 2019 and missed the playoffs for the third straight season.

Childersburg has a mix of experienced and inexperienced players on its upcoming team that Podoris is excited about.

The first-year coach feels the Tigers have the talent, but he knows it’s going to take more than that to accomplish their goal.

“My message to the guys has been every team has talented players, but that’s not what makes a great team,” Podoris said. “We have to find a way to outwork our opponents, come together and do the little things right. 

“We definitely have the group to do that. We got the team to be in the playoffs right now. They have to understand that you don’t win games on paper, you have to come out every day and work the hardest that you can. 

“I think with a good offseason and hard work, we are going to get there.”

Former Childersburg head baseball coach Chad Slaten and former Childersburg head basketball coach Al Barnett made a huge influence on Podoris during his playing days.

Podoris said the relationship both coaches had with their players is something he hopes to have with his players.

“We knew at the end of the day, no matter if we went 0-for-4 or 4-for-4, that they loved us just the same,” he said. “They pushed us so hard to make us as good as we were. Hard work mixed in with a little talent, that’s the formula for success right there. We’ve got to get to that point. 

“I want my guys to know that I’m their biggest fan. I am willing to go to bat for them anytime, anyplace against anybody. I learned that from many coaches, but those two stand out at the top at the high school level.”