Wood piloted Hornets to several playoff trips

·2 min read

Jul. 23—The passing of Gerald Wood recently at age 75 brings to mind the run of success his Athens Hornets baseball teams accomplished during his decade-and-a-half at the helm.

While, through the years, Athens sports programs have had their moments, the Hornets baseball accomplishments from 1981 to 1997 rates among the best for sustained excellence. His overall record was 314 and 122 and Athens played in the post season in 12 of those 16 seasons.

Wood's final season of 1997 included a 27-3 record and a trip to the regional semifinals. The Hornets 1992 season was noteworthy because of the close battle with Corsicana for the District 17-4A crown. The two teams finished knotted at the top and staged a playoff game to decide the winner. Athens entered the playoffs after the win, but were eliminated by the Taylor Ducks in the bi-district round.

A major key to the Hornets' success that year was pitcher Scott Barrett, who was named the district's Most Valuable Player. A 367 hitter, Tory Murray was honored as sophomore of the year. For guiding the ship, Wood shared the Coach of the Year honors in a season that saw him reach the 200 victory mark.

Wood had another strong team in 1989, winning District 15-4A with a 19-7 record. Wood was named Coach of the Year and one of his players, infielder Blake Armstrong was Sophomore of the Year. Nine of his players picked up post season honors that year, but Wood thought there could have been more.

"I am really disappointed we didn't have a couple of more first-teamers," Wood said.

Once he took the Athens job, Wood didn't waste any time bringing hardware to the trophy room. Of his first eight teams, four won district championships.