By Robbie Robertson
Winston County Journal
After five years of being an assistant coach, James Gregory felt like it was time to lead his own program.
Gregory was recently named the head baseball coach at Noxapater, replacing Casey Orr who stepped down after five seasons.
“I’ve been coaching for five years now and like all coaches, I had that itch to want to be a head coach and felt like this might be the right time,” Gregory said. “Noxapater has a tradition and history of good baseball. They have had a couple of good years with Coach (Casey) Orr the last couple of seasons. I know they are graduating a lot of kids. I thought I was ready for the challenge. My uncle says you won’t ever get anywhere unless you take a step forward.”
Gregory, who will be a football assistant as well, said he has a full summer schedule which is good for a team losing seven seniors.
“This summer, I’m trying to learn the kids and let them learn me,” Gregory said. “Losing seven seniors is a good lick. We are going to move some people around and see where everybody can play and see how they will fit together. This will be a summer of discovery and learning.”
Gregory has deep roots in Winston County, graduating from Winston Academy. He was an assistant baseball coach at Sebastopol for four years and was an assistant football coach at Lake last year. He is a graduate of Mississippi State.
The Tigers went 15-9 this past season under Orr and finished the regular season winning 10 of 12 contests, including a big 7-6 win over eventual 1A state champion Nanih Waiya.
Orr stepped down after five seasons as baseball coach. He remains as head football coach and Athletics Director.
“When you are doing everything, you don’t feel like you are doing a good job at any of it,” Orr said. “I thought it was a good opportunity to concentrate at football and that’s my first love. One of my biggest concerns was who was going to take over baseball. But I think that Coach Gregory will do a great job and move our program forward. That’s what we were looking for, someone who was going to move the program forward. He has to replace some great players and I know he is capable of doing it.”