Following baseball coach Adam Williams’ resignation in late April, the Cass Colonels stayed in-house to find their new head man.
Tim Ayers, who was previously one of Williams’ assistants, became the Colonels’ new head coach late last week.
“I’m excited,” Ayers said. “I think coach Williams, the past couple of years, laid down some good things and I want to continue to build on that and then implement some new things that I think will help the program continue to get better.”
The hiring capped a hectic three-week search. Athletic director Dr. Nicky Moore and principal Michael Nelson, already juggling year-end responsibilities, sorted through a pile of applications.
When it came down to it, the two decided their best option was to promote from within.
“It’s always difficult when you’re looking at a change because coach Williams had done such a good job for us,” Moore said. “But with the coaching staff that we had had in place, and after conducting the interviews, we felt that coach Ayers had the characteristics and the qualities that we’re looking for.”
Ayers has been coaching at Cass off-and-on for 12 years, most recently serving as Williams’ hitting coach.
That’s the role he’s filled everywhere he’s been, from a long tenure in summer ball with East Cobb and 6-4-3 Baseball Academy to two years with Division-I IUPUI before that school dropped its baseball program in 2001.
Ayers, who is also a special ed teacher at Cass, played four years himself in college as a catcher/first baseman, first at Glen Oaks CC in Michigan and then at Georgetown College in Kentucky.
The Cass job will be his first head coaching position outside of summer ball.
Williams stepped down in late April, saying he wanted to spend more time with his family.
“I’ve given it a lot of time and energy, and it was just time,” Williams told The Daily Tribune News shortly after his resignation. “I’ve got two little girls that are involved in various things around town. I just thought it was time to go and be a dad.”
Ayers will now take over a team that was in contention for a state tournament spot until the last series of the 2017 season, but came up short.
The Colonels sent three players from their senior class off to college, including leading hitter Bailey Campbell and ace pitcher Jake Collum.
As does every assistant who’s promoted to the head job, Ayers will have to navigate between continuing Williams’ philosophies and putting his own stamp on the program.
At the very least, he’s confident his familiarity with the players will help smooth the transition.
“I think they know what to expect and what they’re going to get from me,” Ayers said. “So I think they know what I’m going to expect. When it’s somebody new, it takes a little while to fill them out and I don’t think they have any doubt what to expect from me.”
The Colonels will start summer workouts in the next few weeks.