Charles Henderson’s Derek Irons earns 200th win as head coach

Published 10:35 pm Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Over the course of his coaching career, Derek Irons has delivered a post-game speech to a winning baseball team 200 times.

Irons, the head coach at Charles Henderson, began his career at Paul Bryant High School in Tuscaloosa, and said he remembers win No. 1 of his career.

“I remember it as the day Michael Carden pitched well against Walker and we won,” said Irons with a smile. “I don’t remember it as No. 1 or whatever. You remember days like that by the kids and what they accomplished.”

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The career for Irons has brought numerous wins, championships and accomplishments, including a string of state playoff appearances that dates back to the 2007 season.

Irons has produced successful teams at Paul Bryant and Charles Henderson, but has dealt with different types of ball teams at the different stops of his career.

The veteran coach said he has adjusted his style of coaching in order to get the best out of the players on his roster.

“At Bryant, we had guys that could really pitch and play defense, but couldn’t hit well at times,” Irons said. “Here, we have been blessed with guys that can swing, so you have to adjust to your strengths. I have had to coach the games a little differently here.”

Irons lead Paul Bryant High to the quarter-finals of the AHSAA playoffs in 2007 and 2008, and has guided Charles Henderson to the semi-finals in 2010 and this season.

Irons said that the amount of success that the Trojans have had is based on the players having been exposed to winning prior to his arrival.

“The guys that are on this team sat in those bleachers and watched the 2004 win it all,” said Irons. “They know how to win, and want to prove it. This is a special group that I will remember for a long time.”

Of all his wins, Irons said that No. 199 will stick out in his mind for quite a while.

The Trojans and Beauregard played a classic 11 inning game last Friday, that saw Charles Henderson edge out a win 3-2.

“That game was definitely No. 1 that I have been a part of as a coach, maybe ever, said Irons. “It is what baseball is all about, two teams competing and giving their all.”

After sweeping the Hornets, Irons was surprised with a special ceremony in which he was presented with a special “Win this game” shirt emblazoned with 200, and a framed No. 11 (Irons’ number) signed by all the members of the 2013 Charles Henderson baseball team.

“I really didn’t know what was going on,” said Irons. “I have kind of done what we preach to our players, keep your nose to the grind and keep getting 1 percent better,” Irons said. “You look up after a win to get in the semi-finals and it’s No. 200. It is something that I will cherish forever.”