Gevin Johnson

Gevin Johnson is the new head coach for the Cedartown Bulldogs baseball program. / Contributed by Gail Conner

The Cedartown Bulldogs new head baseball coach looks to continue a program of bringing respect and pride to the community through the high school’s long tradition of play on the field.

Gevin Johnson is a Rockmart High School graduate, sure. But Bulldog fans shouldn’t be fooled by that, since he’s been with the team since 2014 and is ready to show that he has learned well from former head coach Doyle Kelley.

“This has been my lifelong dream, to be a head coach at a Polk County School,” Johnson said. “I’m not from Cedartown, I’m from Rockmart. But the one thing I’ve learned being here is that the community backs its program. I’ve invested a lot in Cedartown, and the community has invested a lot in us.”

He said that he appreciates the opportunity to take over for Kelley, who coached the Bulldogs for decades from inside and out of the dugout. Kelley had to give up the job after heart complications earlier in the season saw him sidelined for several games, and forced him to decide between baseball and football.

Football won out, and after interviewing for the position in the weeks following Johnson was announced as the school year came to a close.

Johnson added that Kelley served as a “great mentor for me” when it came to learning that coaching wasn’t just about developing player skills on the field, but also providing life lessons to make them better adults.

“It is a dream come true to be able to head coach these kids,” Johnson said. “Some of them I’ve been with them since they were a freshmen. So I’m excited to get an opportunity to stay out there with them.”

Johnson, who earned a degree in education at Shorter after four years at the University, graduated from Rockmart High School in 2010. He’s spent the last four years as an assistant both with the baseball team in the spring, and also with the girl’s softball team in the fall.

He played two years with the Hawks before he moved into education.

Though he’s taking over the baseball team as head coach, he said he will be sticking around with the softball team to help them during the 2018 season starting in August.

His plans for the baseball team revolve around finding new pitching, recruiting new talent at a younger age and developing the young team he already has on hand.

The Bulldogs will be in the weight room ahead of the 2019 season working on gaining strength and keeping in shape. He also wants to get the team more involved in the recreation department’s baseball program to help grow future players, and to develop what he has.

“We lost Jack Haney, and that was a big loss,” Johnson said. “We’ve got two good returning pitchers with Dalton Bowman and Tyler Gosdin, but we’re going to have to search for a third in the line-up.”

Johnson also wants to grow the buy-in that Cedartown has with sports programs generally, but specifically in baseball.

“Want to continue bringing respect and pride to the cedartown community, and represent the high school to the best of mine and the team’s ability,” Johnson said.