Tech’s Hall has everything but a title

Danny Hall congratulates Jeff Rowland after a first inning run Friday night, and hopes it's positive foreshadowing for this post-season. (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

Danny Hall congratulates Jeff Rowland after a first-inning run Friday night and hopes it's positive foreshadowing for this postseason. (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

Contrary to popular belief, Danny Hall actually does own a championship trophy.

It might not be the one he really labored for. It might not be the one he dreamed about. For that matter, he’s not even sure exactly where it is in the house.

But he forever may be indebted to those eight-year-olds from the Wills Park youth league in Alpharetta.

“I helped coach a team four year ago because my son, Carter, was on it,” Hall said Friday. “They ended up winning the Dizzy Dean World Series. After the game, I told those kids, ‘However long I’ve been in baseball, I’ve never been part of a World Series champion. So I want you to understand how special this is.’ That was it. That’s my claim to fame.”

Not quite. But we get the joke.

Hall has Georgia Tech in the NCAA baseball postseason for the 14th time in his 16 seasons. He has won six regionals and been to three College World Series. He coached his 1,000th game Friday night. After Tech’s 9-3 win over Georgia State in the regional opener at Russ Chandler Stadium, the record stands at a fairly lopsided 688-311-1.

So winning is nothing new for Hall. Winning at the end would be. Hall has never won a College World Series.

“Every team starts out with the same goal of going to Omaha,” said the Jackets’ Matt Skole, whose grand slam in the fifth inning turned the game around. “That’s what we play for and what we practice for. Coach Hall has done a great job with us. We want to get there for him, and maybe he can get one of those championships under his felt.”

Hall came closest, strangely enough, in his first season, 1994. He took over the Tech program from Jim Morris, and the Jackets went to Omaha, losing in the finals of the CWS to Oklahoma.

“I’ll never forget what Homer Rice told me when we were walking out of the stadium in Omaha,” Hall said. “He said, ‘You messed up.’ I’m like, ‘What do you mean by that?’ He said, ‘You just raised the expectations to unrealistic levels.’ I laughed. I still laugh.”

Just maybe not as hard?

“I’m OK, really,” he said. “When you’re in coaching, you know how hard it is to get there. It makes you appreciate it even more when you do get there. But we haven’t fared as well as we would’ve liked the last two times.”

Coaches will never tell you they need a title for validation. They’ll never admit coming so close but missing bothers them. Until they win one, anyway.

The Jackets reached the College World Series in 2002 but won only once. They made it again in 2006 but were toast in two games. Hopefully, Hall’s resume will not read, “He did everything but …” He’s a good man and a good coach.

The Jackets are 37-17-1, ranked anywhere from 11th to 17th in polls and have one of the best pitchers in the nation in Deck McGuire. But Hall knows handicapping a postseason is futile.

“Looking at our team, we have one starter we can count on,” he said. “And I’ve seen flashes of others guys who give me hope. We have a pretty good offense, but we haven’t been clicking at the same time. So what you hope is that you can put everything together and your team gets a spark. But really, you just don’t know.”

He joked that coaching 1,000 games mostly means “you’re getting older and you’ve coached a long time.”

His message to his players, “I wanted them to look back 20 years from now and think how much fun this was.”

It doesn’t sound like a guy worn down from falling just short. Either that or he’s still channeling the team from Wills Park.

32 comments Add your comment

GermanJacket

May 30th, 2009
1:07 am

Good luck Coach Hall and Beesball Jackets! Maybe this is the year!

ramblinwreck87

May 30th, 2009
2:24 am

Keep it up Coach Hall! All of us at Tech appreciate your work and dedication to the program.

[...] Jeff Schultz | ajc.com – [...]

Cuz

May 30th, 2009
10:48 am

Anybody seen St. Simons? He is overdue for his,45-42!!hahahahahahaha on the blogs. I hope his Mom did not put him on restriction again.

Pi$$onaDAWG

May 30th, 2009
10:51 am

the U took our coach and we replaced him with HALL 17 yrs. ago and I am still happy either way. I like both men. Hall & Morris are class acts and play a good game. THWG.

Pi$$onaDAWG

May 30th, 2009
10:56 am

CUZ the dogs need to play in other team’s places to win. GT’s AMC=SEC turny, Auburn you always win there, the TED to beat TECH, and now FSU for baseball. Well, you can’t win in JAX(old gatorbowl)Stadium but other than that you do good. I am headed to TALLY to steal your bats back after the Hitting Display.

SlimG

May 30th, 2009
1:45 pm

16 years and no title? Weak at best! The dawgs have done it with less talent. This guy is worse than Hewitt, but nobody seems to get it. If this was football, greyhound would have shipped this coach years ago. Funny how tech fans still believe in this guy. Have you seen his game decisions? Subpar effort with better than average talent. Maybe he should stick to Dizzy Dean.

Dan

May 30th, 2009
3:17 pm

A dead-on column. Much the same could be said of FSU’s Mike Martin, also a suceesful coach and fine person who just hasn’t been able to get that CWS title.

Fire Danny Hall

May 30th, 2009
10:14 pm

So Danny starts a second baseman who wasn’t even put on the ACC tournament roster because he thought he was the best option on defense. Then he goes out and commits three errors and costs Tech the game. Decisions like this in the post season are the reason that Danny will never win a championship. He also hired his former college roommate to be the pitching coach last year even though he had been a high school basketball coach for several years. Now the pitching stinks and Danny has no one to blame but himself. Tech has only one starter that can pitch more than five innings and once again Danny will choke in another regional. Hopefully DRad will let him begin coaching his son’s little league team full time next year. Texas A & M interviewed Danny a few years ago and their fans got upset because they knew about Danny’s failure to win a big game and they decided not to hire him. Danny has had no other teams come calling since. Danny has only won one game in Omaha since his first year with the players he inherited from Jim Morris. Tech will always be a top ten team in April but only top 30 in June as long as Danny is here.

Dizzle21

May 31st, 2009
4:59 pm

Coach Hall is much more than just a coach to these kids. While he may not have a world series championship, his example of integrity, passion, and preparation well exceeds what most coaches provide their programs. These kids will be become amazing leaders in their communities one day and some will play professional ball. Both are equally exciting for the GT program. Now beat Elon…we all want GT in the CWS….

Happy with Hall

May 31st, 2009
10:17 pm

Hall does a great job of running a very clean program and representing the Ramblin’ Wreck. Sure would be nice to take a few days of vacations in Omaha this year.

Let’s go Jackets!!!

Dawg Fan

June 1st, 2009
8:37 am

Come on Tech, keep it in state!

spider

June 1st, 2009
9:48 am

good luck to tech tonight, will be tough considering the pitching situation after already playing 4 games this weekend so will need the hitters too step up especially our shortststop..GO JACKETS

RAMBLE ON!!!

June 1st, 2009
11:15 am

No coach in NCAA Women or Mens Sports is worse than Paul Phewitt!!!

Coach Hall will get his hardware, maybe this year.

Beat Southern Miss!!!

SlimG

June 1st, 2009
1:26 pm

Ramble, just curious, where did you play ball?

Mac

June 1st, 2009
1:27 pm

Schultz, as you contemplate the Tuesday Countdown, I wish to point out a bone-head AJC injustice that you can correct. In a 10-photo gallery from the beach volleyball tournament, eight of the photos were of dudes. What a disappointment! Here’s hoping you can put the broad back in broadband.

matt roid-a-roni

June 1st, 2009
3:53 pm

tech – do what we couldn’t and represent the best baseball state in the country

RAMBLE ON!!!

June 1st, 2009
5:09 pm

On the court and the ball field.

How bout you SlimG and why does it matter?

SlimG

June 1st, 2009
6:40 pm

Ramble, you sound like someone who never played. Hewitt basher? The guy can coach, and I’ll bet you say that next year when tech kills the dawgs.

And me, scholarship to college in basketball, all state, all region in two sports. It matters because those who can’t play love to play armchair quarterback. If you are in the midst, you understand.

RAMBLE ON!!!

June 1st, 2009
8:51 pm

If Phewitt could coach, maybe he’d have more than one winning season in the ACC OUT OF NINE!!!. I’ve been calling for his head for the last three years, I’m sick of GROUND HOG DAY. The last 3 years of the GT/UGA has been some of the worst basketball I’ve ever seen played between two teams. SLOPPY!!!

If we could shoot a f/t, inbound the bound, perhaps have some timeouts at the end of the game when we need them. Maybe he could coach.

You must have been in a coma for the last 4 years. PLEASE tell me one game last year we won do to coaching? There weren’t many so it should be hard.

Congrat’s on your scholarship, how come you didn’t make it to the NBA like most of Phewitts players that never won a game in the college post season do except for Jarrett Jack?

Since I pay my dues to the AD, I’ll play arm chair/Monday morning QB as much as I want, thank you very much.

…and I’ll just a keep on ramblin, sorry.

Najeh Davenpoop

June 1st, 2009
9:14 pm

Hall’s problem is his staff. The pitching is subpar also, past Deck. More talent than most, yet can’t manage the big one. Let us also not forget the 23 given up to Ga Southern at home. Yikes. 37 wins is OK, but if you are going to bring home less than 40 year in and year out, you better hang your hat on something else.

RAMBLE ON!!!

June 1st, 2009
9:15 pm

whoops, inbound the ball.

Fire Danny Hall

June 1st, 2009
11:05 pm

And Hall chokes again. He calls out the fans and then cries about the umpiring while down 8 runs. It is never his fault that his team never shows up in the big geames. Have some self respect and retire like the Southern Miss coach Danny. Give Tech a chance to win a championship by hiring Greg Frady from Georgia State and you can go back to Ohio and become a full time little league coach.

SlimG

June 2nd, 2009
7:33 am

Ouch! This guy Hall is berry, berry bad. You can just tell he is not relaxed and that is how his players play. Scared……. Just don’t get it????? Don’t know his postseason stats, but they can’t be good. Regular season records mean nothing. Making the postseason should be a given at both tech and uga. We have some of the best talent in the nation coming out of the state. I mean the kid from Griffin was drafted No.1 out of high school. Please DRad, make a move.

Ramble, it’s all good dude, just having a little fun with you. Keep paying those dues, we need the cash for Gailey and Hewitt’s buyouts. Hahahahahah…….

See ya at the lettermen’s club, maybe?

Too Easy

June 2nd, 2009
8:19 am

Jeff: Save this article for a revise/reprint next year. Will give you a day off. Much was made of the value of hosting a regional, but not much was made of the opportunity.

Born2Buzz

June 2nd, 2009
2:21 pm

Yea, Danny calling out the fans and then getting smoked again is bad.
Instead of calling out the fans how about not starting a pitcher who threw 121 pitches 2 days earlier. Not even Booby Cox would make that move.

soft

June 2nd, 2009
5:12 pm

Coach Hall only recruits from one place EC. Good ball players but not all the best play there. He needs to get out and look at more players ballplayers. Look at Charlie Blackmon and what he did.

E

June 3rd, 2009
12:27 pm

The loss to So. Miss is the equivalent to Tech having a #2 seed in the NCAA B-Ball tourney and losing to a #10 seed in the 2nd Rd. to reach the sweet sixteen (Super Regionals), if this were March, the blogs would be filled with “Fire Hewitt” posts for yet another post season collapse. but its baseball so no one cares. And don’t give me that crap about at least the baseball team made it to post season. Its ten times as easy to make a baseball sub-regional, as it is to make the NCAA tourney…

JSS

June 3rd, 2009
6:25 pm

Nearly a week without the mindless rambling of YOU KNOW WHO!!! This might be like what the rest of the world outside of the AJC gets… SIGH!!! You know it can’t last, but it is nice to know how it feels….

Kevin

June 6th, 2009
6:41 am

hey fans remember Hall he a loser and still is and yes he now should be fired…He can call his fans out for not showin up but where the hell was he and his players Monday when lost! If u goin to Talk to walk u best be ready to Talk it…and Hall u and u fellow jackets did not!

WTF???

June 9th, 2009
3:25 pm

Do they give out D&D Championship Trophies?

Happy Dawg Fan

June 10th, 2009
6:09 pm

As a UGA fan I say keep Hall at Tech. He’s like having Chan Gailey for the GT baseball team- just good enough to be mediocre. His love affair with the righty-lefty scenario is laughable. If the man had an original baseball idea in his head….wait, that’ll never happen. Basing your entire offense on the three run homer is not a good thing. Yeah, a lot of your players have big bats but they also commit as many errors that cost runs. So, keep him Hall. It makes it easier for us UGA fans.