Former Childersburg High School head baseball coach Cory Williams was hired as Ragland’s new head baseball coach on July 10.
Williams, who led the Tigers to a 31-70 record and one Class 4A playoff appearance in four seasons, takes over a Purple Devils program that hasn’t missed the postseason in 1A in more than a decade.
“I’m excited to be a part of the Purple Devil family,” he said. “They’ve accepted me with open arms, and they seemed really excited to have me. They have had a lot of success, and my goal is to continue building on that success, starting with this group that I have this year.”
Ragland principal Jennifer Ball said her familiarity with Willams made it easy to bring him in as part of the staff.
“I’ve worked with Coach Williams before when I was an administrator at Childersburg, so I’ve seen firsthand what he can do with a program,” she said. “So when I had a position that opened that fit him, he just seemed like the right one to go get because I knew he would be a good fit with our community.”
Williams said getting to work with Ball and athletic director Derrick Sewell drew him to the coaching job.
“Honestly, I had never been to Ragland in my life,” Williams said. “I had never passed through there, never been there. The principal was a big reason (I took the job) because I’ve worked with her before. She’s an outstanding administrator and great to work for. That was one of the big draws, and when I actually made a visit over to Ragland, I fell in love with the community and the kids.
“It was a different feeling than what I had before. I love my time at Childersburg and being back home, but this seems to be a little different feel with the small, tight-knit community.”
Despite his record in Childersburg, Williams made his hay in the effort he put in to ensure his best players were able to continue their baseball careers at the next level.
“One of the biggest things I accomplished at Childersburg was advocating for my guys, getting them in front of schools and scouts, being a part of that recruiting process and getting them the opportunity that they worked hard to get,” he said. “We just about had someone signed every year. That’s not exactly common, but we were able to do that.
“Just being an advocate for my guys and the relationships that I’ve built with them -- they’ve all reached out to me. They’re all very supportive. It means a lot to me as a coach to have players come back and still support you based off those relationships you’ve built.”
He added he hopes to do the same at Ragland.
“I think at the 1A level, there’s a lot of talent, but it doesn’t necessarily get seen quite as much,” Williams said. “Great relationships with college coaches in the state and working camps, having relationships with these guys, it helps the process of getting them seen. I feel like we’re going to start seeing more smaller schools get in and you’re going to see more of those guys start getting signed and getting those opportunities as well.”
Ragland plays in a highly-competitive area that features Winterboro and 1A, Area 10 champion Victory Christian. The Purple Devils finished as runner-up.
“We played them (Victory Christian) when I was at Vincent and even at Childersburg, so I’m very familiar with their team, their style and how they play,” Williams said. “Winterboro is probably my biggest challenge because I don’t know a lot about them. I know of them, being in Talladega County, but we never played them … Beating Victory is going to be tough, and trying to figure out how to beat Winterboro is going to be a challenge in itself as well.”