Former IHS star Ellison returns to coach

Published 2:30 pm Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Ryan Ellison hopes he brings the same kind of success to the Isabella baseball program as a coach that he did as a player.

Ellison—who reached legendary status in the community by taking four consecutive IHS squads to the semifinals of the state playoffs from 2001-04, each time falling to the eventual state champion—will follow Clay Shearer as the school’s new baseball coach.

“I’m thankful that I have the opportunity to be here,” Ellison said.

Ellison’s hire was approved at Tuesday’s Chilton County Board of Education meeting, and IHS Principal Ricky Porter confirmed Wednesday that Ellison would lead the baseball program.

“I think most of the players and community are familiar with him,” Porter said. “We’re excited about the prospects of having him as our baseball coach.”

Ellison began his varsity career as a seventh grader and went on to dominate the school’s pitching records. He played at Troy University from 2005-08 and was head coach at Goshen High School immediately following his graduation in 2009.

Last season, Ellison served as an assistant to Chilton County High School coach Josey Shannon.

“I learned a lot from him,” Ellison said of Shannon. “I kind of got thrown into the fire [as Goshen’s coach]. I think I’m a little bit better prepared after the past two years of coaching. I don’t know if you ever feel like you’re ready to be a head coach unless you just do it.”

Shearer was dismissed at the end of the school year. Porter previously told The Clanton Advertiser, “We just made a change. It wasn’t due to cutbacks or anything like that.”

Ellison said the first order of business is to meet with his new team and impart the importance of optimism and giving maximum effort at all times.

“I know it’s demanding at a school like Isabella because I played there,” he said. “A lot of guys are playing [baseball, football and basketball]. We’re going to try to keep them from getting burned out.

“But we expect positive attitudes and guys that are looking to win every game you play. You may not win every one, but we want to compete every time out.”