Jemison welcomes new baseball coach Gunter

Published 1:34 pm Wednesday, June 14, 2023

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By Carey Reeder | Managing Editor

Envisioning success is a key component to any successful program, especially in the mentally taxing sport of baseball. Gabe Gunter is a big proponent of envisioning success, and that is what led him to become the new head coach of the Jemison High School baseball team starting this fall.

Gunter, who will be taking over for former head coach Jason Easterling, comes over from fellow AHSAA Class 5A Area 7 school Marbury High School where he spent two seasons at the helm.

Jemison High School held a meet and greet with Gunter at Olde Town Scoops on June 12 to meet the baseball players and their parents.

Gunter said he did not know the Jemison job had opened until one of the school’s administrators contacted him. Gunter jumped at the opportunity having been familiar with the area during his time at Marbury coming over and competing against the Panthers.

“I have always looked at Jemison as a hidden gem,” Gunter said. “When you look at everything, baseball can be really good in this area with the baseball-rich environment and the deep history of baseball around here. There is opportunity here for a really good atmosphere, and that is what you want for baseball.”

Gunter is relatively new in the coaching ranks, but he brings in a veteran-style resume that saw him get his start at The University of Alabama in Huntsville in 2017 as the pitching coach. It was there Gunter developed his love for player development.

“That (time at UA-Huntsville) really molded me and I found my love for coaching,” Gunter said

One of the pitchers Gunter was able to bring into UA-H was Brandon Johnson who was coached by Gunter for a season. Johnson eventually moved on to a stellar career at Ole Miss and helped lead the Rebels to the 2022 NCAA National Championship in Omaha. He was selected in the ninth round of the 2022 MLB Draft by the Kansas City Royals a few months later.

After UA-H, Gunter moved to the high school coaching ranks at Class 1A McKenzie High School and then Class 3A Straughn High School where he helped turn around both programs from sub-.500 to above .500 teams.

Gunter is expecting to do the same thing with the Jemison program.

“I have a good track record of coming in and turning around a team,” Gunter said. “I have a recipe for this thing and what it is supposed to look like, and I love the challenge, I embrace it.”

At McKenzie and Straughn, Gunter had another coaching responsibility such as a coordinator for the football team. At Jemison, Gunter will solely be the baseball coach which will allow him to pour all of his time and effort into the program.

The faster players learn the mental side of baseball, the faster the program will improve, Gunter said at the meet and greet. Imagining success will be a big focal point of the culture he is bringing into Jemison. Gunter’s drive on creating successful visions drove him to attend the state championship games this season after his team was already eliminated.

“I do not know how many coaches who were not playing in the state title game went to the game this year, but I did,” Gunter said. “We were completely out, but I was in the outfield watching the game because I believe if you want to envision it you have to actually see it for yourself.”

Gunter said attending the game brought visions to him of what it takes to get a team to a state championship game. Visions he will now be able to instill at Jemison and help the Panthers make their own visions of potentially winning a state championship in the near future.

“I have a vision for Jemison, and I have for a while,” Gunter said. “If you envision it and go after it, normally it will come.”