Impact Baseball traveled to Hillsborough, North Carolina to sit down with Mr. Dean Dease for his "In The Dugout" interview. When you think of Orange High School, the first name that comes to mind is their legendary head baseball coach Mr. Dease. Coach Dease is one of the top North Carolina high school baseball coaches and continues to build a strong baseball tradition with the Panthers.
Name: Dean Dease
Orange High School Head Baseball Coach
Number of years at Orange: 28 (25 as head coach)
Location: Hillsborough, NC
How did you get into coaching?
I think it goes back to junior high and high school. We lived in a small community (Tryon, N.C. between Cherryville and Bessemer City) and we had a group of guys who played sports all of the time. I wasn't the best player so I usually tried to plan a way I could compete and win. I would spend a lot of my class time drawing plays in all sports.
What are your expectations for your club this season?
We have the same expectations every year. Compete for the conference title and advance in the state playoffs as far as we can. This team has the potential to compete in our league and we would love to be in the hunt at the end of May.
What are the strength's for the 2013 Orange Baseball team?
We should be solid on offense and defensive, we have seven returning starters. Our pitching is young; but the great thing this year is we have depth and competition in every position. It's going to be great if these guys will push each other to become better.
You have always had great clubs during your duration at Orange, what is your key to success?
There's no magic! We work practically all year, our summer teams in the CCSSL are important for us. We get to evaluate young talent and work with our returning players. When we return to school, we start workouts and go to the weight room for those not playing fall and winter sports. We have been fortunate to have dedicated players over the years. My wife says baseball season never ends at our house.
The fans at Orange are always out in full force, how do you attract so many people to follow your club?
I think it starts with the community; our youth program in Hillsborough has over 600 kids playing. Most everyone in town grew up playing baseball and going to youth games. So they follow the high school teams, of course part of being successful is also our parent support. Our parents volunteer and work very hard behind the scenes.
Who's the best player you have ever coached at Orange? What made him so special?
Wow! Tough question, way to put me on the spot. Josh Horton (UNC/Oakland) probably had the most overall talent, he moved like a gazelle and had great hand-eye. Chris Maples (UNC/Detroit) did some amazing things on the field, great athlete. I could go on, but I better stop.
Who's the best player you have seen in North Carolina High School baseball while coaching?
Josh Hamilton. We played Athens Drive when he was a sophomore. I remember his size 15 shoes and him throwing BBs from right field. He also hit a laser for a double over our center fielder's head.
You are one of the most respected coaches in North Carolina; every coach I interview always brings up your name. Describe how you keep those relationships with so many coaches in this profession with such a busy schedule.
The relationships among baseball coaches are very special. I think baseball coaches are willing to help each other and work with each other like no other sport. There is no way I could have survived without learning from the best - Coach Vincent, Coach Senter, Coach Spivey, Coach Reynolds, Coach Hardee, Coach Shankle, Coach Woodell and many others. If I ever leave the coaching profession, I would miss the camaraderie with the coaches the most. I have been so very blessed.
If you could sit down with any coach in the baseball circle, who would it be and why?
I have been fortunate to get to know a few college coaches over the years and they have helped me become a better coach. I think would like to talk with Mike Martin (Florida State Head Baseball Coach). To be that successful for 33 years at one school is unbelievable.
What's the most memorable game you have been a part of while coaching at Orange?
It would have to be the 2008 state championship series against East Rutherford. After winning game one on Friday, we came back with a three run bottom of the 7th to win game two 3-2 on Saturday. Our center fielder Carvell Copeland (great young man) got the winning hit and it was dog pile. I have tremendous respect for Bobby Dale Reynolds and his baseball program. I have known him for over 30 years. It was like beating the Yankees.
Below, I am going to list some North Carolina High School baseball names, describe in one word what comes to mind when you hear them:
Milton Senter (Fuquay Varina Head Coach): Respect
Jeremy Thompson (Middle Creek Head Coach): Dedicated
Rod Whitesell (Holly Springs Head Coach): Buddy
Tom Hayes (Fuquay Varina Pitching Coach): The "Man"
Ronald Vincent (Greenville Rose Head Coach): Legend
Josh Hamilton: Inspiring
Josh Horton: Humble
What's your favorite food?
My wife makes killer burritos.
What's your favorite television show?
Duck Dynasty or The Walking Dead
Do you have any pregame rituals?
Not really - get field ready, get players ready, pray and play
What are your hobbies outside of baseball?
I like to play golf and fish but don't have much time for either. I have two daughters playing sports year round, so it's usually following them to events. We do enjoy the beach when we can get there.
Impact Baseball would like to thank Coach Dease for his "In The Dugout" interview. We would like to wish him and the Panthers the best of luck this year.
Stay tuned for more to come here from Impact Baseball....