Dalton High School Catamounts

January 1, 2014

Dalton High grad Rodney Hennon has built coaching legacy at Georgia Southern

Ask Rodney Hennon to summarize his coaching career in college baseball, and he’ll use the words “fun” and “blessed” a whole bunch.

Even with the success he’s had at Georgia Southern, he still holds a soft spot for Dalton.

Hennon and two former Dalton High School standouts now playing for the coach returned to the area last week and held a youth baseball camp Saturday at ProFormance Sports Academy, a baseball training facility in Dalton.

Hennon, who graduated from Dalton High School in 1989, enters his 15th season leading the Eagles. In each season except for last year, the program won at least 30 games and has won four Southern Conference tournament championships (2000, 2001, 2002, 2009 and 2011). In 16 total years as a head coach — he coached two years at Western Carolina prior to taking over Georgia Southern’s program — he has a 581-380-1 record.

“That’s unheard of,” said Bart Richt, owner of ProFormance and a long-time friend of Hennon’s from high school. “They play a pretty competitive schedule.”

Richt graduated in 1988 and played minor league baseball. Hennon played at Western Carolina and earned second-team All-Conference honors in 1992 and first-team honors in 1993, his senior season. He has twice won the Southern Conference’s coach of the year award.

“We’ve been fortunate to get good support from our administration and coaches and we have good players here in Georgia,” Hennon said. “It’s been fun.”

Richt said Hennon held a coaches clinic for local coaches before the youth camp started. After the youth instruction, he held a question-and-answer session for parents. Hennon said this is the first time since 1999 he’s been able to hold a camp in the area.

“It’s always good to be back here,” Hennon said. “This worked out well with the holidays and being good friends with Bart.”

Hennon joins former Georgia Southern coach Jack Stallings as the only other coach in program history to earn 10 consecutive 30-win seasons.

“At the time he retired, (Stallings) was the winningest active coach in college baseball,” Hennon said. “He had over 800 wins at Southern and was there for over 20 years.”

While not wishing to think about retirement himself, Hennon continues to say he is “fortunate to be at a place where baseball is important” and still “loves the competition.

“I love still being able to be around the game,” he added. “Like anything else, it has its days and moments. Overall, I’ve been pretty blessed.”

Hennon’s run of 30-win seasons ended last year when the Eagles finished 27-32 and fell short of winning another conference title.

“We didn’t reach the goals we wanted to reach (winning a conference championship),” Hennon said, “but I think a lot of times coming off a season like that might motivate you that much more.

“I think our team is definitely motivated for this season.”

Joining him at the clinic were former Dalton High players Stryker Brown and Garren Palmer, both 2010 graduates and both juniors heading into the Eagles’ 2014 campaign.

Brown said he “recognized the success the program had” when he pledged heading to Georgia Southern and is confident Hennon and the team never worried about any streaks.

“I don’t think he cares about streaks and numbers,” Brown said. “You can see from his numbers he has been one of the winningest coaches.”

Hennon has had other Dalton players come through — and he said he tried recruiting Mitchell Boggs, who went to the University of Georgia and has had a solid professional career playing for the St. Louis Cardinals and Colorado Rockies.

“This area has always had baseball talent,” Hennon said.

“We always try to make sure we’re aware of the better players around him and when we can get up here to see them play and stay in touch with coaches.”

Lastly, he acknowledged what a facility like ProFormance brings to the quality of the sport in northwest Georgia. He said year-round training helps improve skills but also can increase injuries.

“Personally, I like kids that are athletic and play multiple sports,” Hennon said. “One thing, kids have access to more quality instruction. There are places like this popping up everywhere where kids can get great instruction.

1
Text Only
Dalton High School Catamounts
  • NW at DHS baseball (g3) 1 mlh.jpg Whatever it takes

    Northwest Whitfield High School’s baseball team has been successful this season. But at the same time, no one said success would be easy.
    Several times this year, the Bruins have fallen behind early in the first few innings before answering with a rally to ensure the wins keep coming. On Friday, that formula delivered a Sub-region 7B-4A championship for the second year in a row.

    April 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • DHS at SE soccer 7 mlh.jpg Prep Roundup: Unbeaten streak rolls on for Cats

    Replicating the start of last year’s Class 4A state title match, Dalton High School’s boys soccer team needed just four minutes to score its first goal at Southeast Whitfield on Friday.
    The Catamounts scored five more — and again defended their crown of dominance in the sport.

    April 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • Prep Roundup: Bruins power past Cats for key victory at home

    TUNNEL HILL — Similar to Wednesday’s Sub-region 7B-4A baseball series opener at Dalton High School, Northwest Whitfield fell behind early Thursday versus the Catamounts.

    April 11, 2014

  • NW at SE baseball 7   mlh.jpg Prep Baseball: Looking for a leader

    Dalton High School baseball coach Shane Ramsey only needed one word to sum up what he expects from this week’s three-game series with Sub-region 7B-4A foe and intracounty rival Northwest Whitfield.
    “Intensity,” he said. “If you can’t get up for this series, then why are you playing?”

    April 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • Prep Roundup: Dalton golf teams in form at Fields Ferry

    Even in wet and muddy conditions, both the Dalton High School boys and girls golf teams are sharpening their games at the right time.
    With the Region 7-4A tournament scheduled in two weeks, both the Catamounts and the Lady Cats finished second during play at the Fields Ferry Invitational in Calhoun on Monday. Despite the soggy conditions, Dalton’s Jacob Brown tied for medalist honors with a 2-over par 74 to lead the Cats to a 313 combined score in the six-play, four-score format. Dalton finished three strokes behind tournament winner LaFayette.

    April 8, 2014

  • Wrestler of the year 2014 2 mlh.jpg All-Area Wrestling Team and Wrestler of the Year: Winning another title was the only goal for Wheeler

    When Dalton High School wrestler Sidney Wheeler won a state title for the first time two years ago as a sophomore, he admitted he became a little complacent about what it would take to replicate the feat — perhaps not noticeably so to most observers, but enough to take success for granted. Wheeler believed it a matter of course that he would win state again, and he thought the second title would simply be the middle child in a high school three-peat.

    April 6, 2014 1 Photo

  • Prep Roundup: Behr finds his stroke in Vidalia

    Dalton High School golfer Allen Behr shot a 3-under-par 69 during the second day of the Indian Invitational in Vidalia to lead the Catamounts to a top-10 finish in the event Saturday.

    April 6, 2014

  • dhs v lafayette baseball1.jpg Out of control victory

    Dalton and LaFayette high schools are on spring break this week, and on Monday their baseball teams’ pitching took a vacation when it came to throwing strikes.
    The teams combined for 14 walks and four hit batters in a Sub-region 7B-4A game at Dalton, although most of the damage belonged to the host Catamounts, who won 5-4 despite their control problems.

    April 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • dhs baseball signing sane1.jpg Prep Baseball: Sane taking his drive to Chattanooga State

    Grant Sane isn’t a player who is concerned with his stats or his individual accomplishments. He is more interested in doing whatever he can do for his Dalton High School baseball team to be successful.

    March 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ridgeland at DHS baseball 3 mlh.jpg Sharp enough to win

    Dalton High School freshman pitcher Sam Stepp found himself in a jam a lot during Wednesday’s home game against Ridgeland.
    He always found a way out.

    March 27, 2014 1 Photo