James Conoly: Ware County High School

James Conoly

It's hard not to talk about Ware County's baseball success and James Conoly not be mentioned. The Ware County native played baseball in high school, then attended Georgia Southern.

He returned to his hometown after high school and began his coaching career in 1975. In two stints as the head baseball coach at the school, Conoly compiled a 498-313 record before retiring in 2010.

Conoly guided the Gators from 1975-1997 when he became assistant principal at Ware County Middle School. But he returned to the baseball diamond in 2000 and coached until he retired. He had just just three losing seasons during his tenure, and he took the Gators to the state semifinals in 1989.

"I wanted the kids to have a meaningful and enjoyable experience when they played baseball at Ware County," he said.

He led the program to six region titles and he was named Coach of the Year six times. He was an assistant coach for the Southeast Georgia All-Stars in 1994, and he was an assistant coach for the South team in the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association North-South All-Star game in 1994. He also coached the Southeast Georgia All-Stars in 2006.

Conoly sent more than 50 players to college and four played professionally during his 34 seasons.

"When you get older, you get a little wiser and I learned that a coach isn't anything without a lot of good kids working and playing hard as well as having a lot of good assistants," Conoly said. "I wanted kids to appreciate the game. When they left Ware County, I wanted them to really appreciate what baseball was about. That meant more to me than anything else."