By JOSH FRYE
News Sports Writer
With a new year comes change, and that is what new ECHS baseball coach Kasuan Bullard is hoping to bring to the Blue Devil baseball team this season.
“Last year the Blue Devil baseball team was only able to capture one win,” Bullard said. “I am hoping to help turn that around this season.”
Bullard, a Mobile native, grew up walking the halls of Williamson High School, where he was a role-model student athlete who excelled in baseball and football.
Upon graduating from Williamson High School, Bullard attended Alcorn State on a football scholarship. He received his B.A. from the University of South Alabama before completing his master’s degree at the University of West Alabama.
Bullard then found his way back to Williamson High as a teacher. While teaching drivers education and health at Williamson, he was called to coaching, so he picked up a whistle and began his football and baseball coaching career.
“The baseball team at Williamson wasn’t in the best shape,” the new ECHS coach said. “The team had a few down seasons and I was blessed enough to be a part of helping turn that around.”
Bullard found his way from Williamson to Escambia County High by way of new ECHS head football coach Scott Mason.
“Coach Mason was friends with another coach that I worked with and he referred me for the job,” Bullard said. “I am excited to join the family as a defensive coordinator to the football team and as the head baseball coach.”
Anytime a coach moves from a school that he or she not only graduated from, but called home for so long during a career, the transition can be an emotional one.
“It was a decision I decided to make,” Bullard said. “I wanted to try something new; I enjoy new challenges. I made the choice to step outside the box and take the challenge that was offered to me here at ECHS.”
Along with coaching, Bullard has also become part of the ECHS classroom faculty and is currently teaching drivers education and health.
“I enjoy working with the kids. I want to encourage the kids to face new challenges,” he said.
Bullard is hoping to help improve the baseball record this season for the Blue Devils.
“These are great kids; they come to practice every day and work hard,” he said. “They do everything that they are asked to do. This is a great school and community, and we hope to do great things this season to represent Atmore.
“Baseball is a beautiful game. It is the ultimate team sport. The seniors are helping lead the younger players. The work ethic of these guys is outstanding, and they do what they need to do without being asked.”
As Bullard was explaining his point during the interview, several seniors led the entire junior varsity and varsity team onto the field to begin warm-ups.
Bullard said, pointing, “That’s what I’m talking about. These guys do not need me to tell them what to do. They know what needs to be done and they take leadership. That is what the game is all about.”
Bullard said he is hoping to bring excitement to the game this season and is striving to fill the stands with community citizens because when a community fan base supports high school athletes by filling the stands, it shows itself on and off the field. It pushes the athlete to be a better player and role model for his community.
“I want to bring excitement back to baseball in Atmore,” Bullard said. “We want to get as many fans and community members involved as we possibly can.”
Over the next several weeks, the Devils baseball team will continue to grow and develop in anticipation of its season opener during the county tournament on February 19 at 4 p.m. at Tom Byrne Park in Atmore.
“We are working on pitching depth more than anything at this point,” Bullard said. “With the new pitch count rules and number of games, you have to make sure that you do not wear the kids out. Pitching depth is a huge part of that. We want to be the team that shocks everyone and is standing with the championship in our hands at the end of the season.”