Longtime coach, athletic director to retire after 39 years at BHS

Published 8:00 pm Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Sitting on the home dugout bench at the old Bainbridge High School baseball field, Stan Killough looked at the dirt, the grass and the bases and said, “I’d do it all again.”

It’s been 39 years since Killough began working in the school system, 41 since he moved to Bainbridge. And now, he has decided to retire.

Even though the field he was looking at is currently played on by the Bainbridge Middle School team, and the high school players are many years gone, off to the newly built BHS on Hwy. 84, Killough can still see his players standing in position out there.

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“When I look at this place, I can see individuals doing great things,” said Killough. “The thing I want most from those guys that played here is I want them to remember it was fun. We had fun. Friendships were made right there. Memories were made right there that will never be forgotten. They bonded together. That’s what I want them to remember.”

With a 15-year tenure as head baseball coach for the Bearcats, another 17 years of administrative and teaching positions, and the last seven years as BHS athletic director, Killough has seen his fair share of students and ball players come through the system.

Even when they leave, a lot of them come back to shake their coach’s hand. Education is all about relationships, he said. Years after graduating, old players still look at Killough as a friend.

“That’s what I’ll miss, now that I’m retiring for good,” said Killough. “I had relationships with the athletes. I enjoyed every minute of that.”

Killough grew up in Greenville, Alabama, the son of a furniture salesman and a secretary. From an early age, he loved sports and was encouraged to play them often by his parents and neighborhood friends. To this day, he still talks to his recreation league baseball coach, Otis Griggs, who lives in Montgomery. Killough said Griggs taught him the fundamentals to baseball, the building blocks he never forgot.

After graduating from Greenville High School, Killough attended Lurleen Wallace Junior College in Andalusia to continue his baseball career. His freshman year there, he met his future wife, Beth. Eventually, Killough moved on to play his last years of college ball at Alabama. She went to Auburn. Despite that, they stayed together and were married not long after.

About a week after receiving his diploma in Tuscaloosa in 1977, Killough and Beth moved to Bainbridge, everything they owned packed in a Chevrolet Vega. He had accepted a job as an athletic director for Bainbridge Leisure Services, hired by Jack Palmer and knowing not another soul in town. The first place Palmer took him was The Post-Searchlight to meet Sports Editor Joe Crine. Killough said he was thankful for the work Crine and The Post-Searchlight have done covering Bainbridge athletes.

Through Leisure Services, Killough met people in the school system, and when Bainbridge had a job opening for a Diversified Cooperate Training coordinator two years later, he jumped on it.

“When I took the job, they told me there wasn’t any coaching, no coaching,” said Killough. “Your job is to take care of these kids. The guy that hired me, Larry Murkerson, left. Just as soon as he left, I went to Ralph Jones, who was the AD, and said I am interested in coaching. He cleared it with the superintendent and principal and he gave me my first opportunity to coach.”

It was as an assistant on Pete Reeve’s baseball team in 1981. A couple years later, he got the head coach job when Reeve’s left for another position. He coached the baseball team until 1999. The years bring back countless memories to him.

“I think as a coach, whether you ask a guy after his last game or if you ask him 20 years from now, did you enjoy playing baseball here, and if you could, would you do it again? If they answer yes to both of those questions, you did your job,” said Killough.

Killough also answers both of those questions with an enthusiastic, “Yes.”

He’s not sure what he’ll do once his retirement is official this summer. He’ll definitely spend more time with his wife, who never complained once during all the traveling and late nights over the years. He’ll visit his parents more, and see his grandchildren more as well. Other than that? Who knows.

He’s not worried about it, though. If the good Lord was gracious enough to give him the opportunities he’s had the last 41 years, he said, then he’ll trust the next door that opens to be the right one.