Landrum honors 1975 state champions
Published 5:08 pm Thursday, March 21, 2013
When Steve Coley became Landrum’s varsity baseball coach in the late 1960s, someone asked him whey he decided to pilot the Cardinals, who, at the time, were not setting the field on fire.
“The only way we can go is up,” Coley remembers replying.
Coley’s team rose far and quickly, winning the program’s first state championship in 1975. That title-clinching win might have been the most important of Coley’s remarkable 377 varsity wins at Landrum. To get there, they had to defeat Lockhart twice in post-season play, after losing two games to Lockhart during the regular season.
Last Friday, Coley and seven members of that storied 1975 team received a warm welcome at a special pregame recognition ceremony at the school. In that game, the Cardinals dropped a 4-2 decision to Liberty, in spite of a strong complete-game performance by T.J. Fincher, and some lusty, but inconsistent hitting.
Coley brought experience and a winning attitude to Landrum, having played minor league baseball in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ organization. Many of Coley’s minor league teammates were on the Pirates’ 1971 World Series winning team, after Coley’s own career was cut short by injuries.
“They say he (Coley) could knock the cover off the fastball,” said current Landrum Athletic Director John Cann. “He can still knock the cover off a golf ball,” added Cann, “and know where it’s going.”
Coley’s 28 years of coaching baseball at Landrum, and 22 as athletic director (he served the school for 30 years total), have left many benefits for the Cardinals, and allowed others the chance to better pursue their own dreams.