Being an assistant coach can sometimes be a thankless job.
The Georgia Dugout Club does not think so.
The organization recognized Allatoona baseball assistant David Eeles last Friday as the Cliff Shelton Assistant Coach of the Year. Eeles was honored the Georgia Dugout Club’s annual conference at Atlanta-Marietta Hilton Conference Center and Hotel.
“He’s one of those guys who works his tail off,” Allatoona coach Keith Hansen said. “Assistant coaches don’t get a lot of glory. The wins you get as a head coach are only as good as your assistant coaches. These guys are the champions behind the scenes.”
Eeles was grateful for the award, but he was quick to share the credit.
“To be honest with you, it’s nice to be recognized,” he said. “I’ve been at Allatoona since we’ve opened, and we have four other coaches who are outstanding.”
Eeles and fellow assistants Brad Stickland, Mike Dennison and Mike Linch have coached under Hansen since Allatoona first opened in 2008. In the 11 seasons since, the Buccaneers have been to the state quarterfinals three times, the semifinals once and were state runners-up in 2018.
Allatoona also won five straight region championships from 2014-18 and has only missed the playoffs three times in its history.
Having played behind the plate at Liberty, Eeles works mostly with the Buccaneers’ catchers. He spends ample time helping them block pitches and call games.
Eeles has helped develop some solid catchers over the years at Allatoona, including Pete Derkay (Tennessee), Kris Patel (Berry) and David Smith (Georgia Highlands). Bryce Richey was the program’s first catcher, while and junior Brett Blomquist will be the projected starter in 2020.
“We work well as a team,” Eeles said. “I do my part, I love the kids and I love being a part of this program. This is the position I played growing up, and I enjoy working with them.”
A Chicago native, Eeles also is the wide receivers coach for Gary Varner and the Allatoona football team, which finished as the Class AAAAAA state runner-up in 2019, and he serves as head coach of the freshman team.
Once baseball gets in full swing, Eeles oversees batting practices and aids other position players, in addition to his work with the catchers.
“I try to lend a hand in as many areas as I possibly can,” he said. “I can help out infielders and outfielders, but I stay away from pitchers.”
Eeles’ sons, Brady and Payton, played for him at Allatoona. Brady is now a senior at North Georgia, while Payton is a sophomore at Cedarville University in Ohio. His daughter, Kaelyn, is a sophomore at Cornerstone Preparatory Academy in Acworth.