Brookstone baseball coach Vince Massey was sheepish when he discussed the ethics in coaching award he will receive from the Georgia Dugout Club on Friday in Atlanta at the group’s annual clinic.
“They have to give it to someone, I guess,” he said with a laugh. “I don’t know how it all works, I just know they said I’d be recognized for it.”
Last year, the award, which has been given out five times, was given to Troup County’s Craig Garner. Massey said he was honored to find out recently that he’d follow at this year’s ceremony, and noted that he plans to talk about the people who have influenced him over the years when he accepts the award.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to be around some good ones to learn from and take things from,” he said. “When I was much younger, they were the ones who influenced me on how to work with young kids.”
Like his parents his high school and college coaches, coaches who gave him jobs over the years, and guys like Columbus State’s Greg Appleton, who took over as head coach during Massey’s tenure as an assistant.
“In my situation, when I came to CSU, he was already there as an assistant coach,” Appleton said. “For a new head coach to come in and blend with an assistant, it was seamless. And it had a lot to do with him knowing how to get along with people. That’s just the kind of guy he is.”
Massey’s dad was a baseball coach, as well, and he soaked up knowledge from him and his assistant coaches over the years.
“I don’t think it’s rocket science,” he said. “There’s not a lot of original thought that I use because I’ve been around so many good coaches.”
One thing he has done, though, is to build those relationships and use them as ongoing resources. Whereas some coaches prefer to maintain distance with the competition, he sees them as people he can help or who can help him improve for his own kids.
“I look at it as building relationships,” he said. “Some of my best friends are guys I coach against. We’re all in this together. I like to have a relationship with those guys and pick their brains and learn how to do my job a little better.”
Still, he said it was an honor to know that there were people — his peers and people he coaches against — who think so highly of him. Appleton said that’s one of the greatest honors a coach can receive.
“To be honored by other coaches who say that you do things the right way and they respect how you do things, there can’t be anything better than that,” he said. “Vince is a great teacher, he’s a great administrator, he’s a great manager of people. That’s why he won the award.”
In addition to Massey, coaches and players of the year for each high school classification and each level of college ball will be honored at the clinic. The clinic is being held at the Windy Hill Marriott in Atlanta. It began on Thursday and will run through Saturday. Massey will receive his award during a ceremony at 11 a.m. Friday.