Pike Liberal hires Allen Ponder as new head baseball coach

Published 3:41 pm Wednesday, May 14, 2014

A new era in Pike Liberal Arts baseball has arrived, and Allen Ponder will lead the Patriots in to the future.

Ponder was announced as the new head baseball coach Wednesday morning, and will take over for the retiring Butch Austin. Ponder spent the last two seasons at The Lakeside School in Eufula. Prior to his stint at Lakeside, Ponder was a start player at Lee-Scott Academy in high school, and later at college stops at Alabama and Auburn University-Montgomery.

During his high school days, Ponder was named Mr. Baseball by the Alabama Sports Writers Association. He also played professionally in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization.

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Ponder said he is proud to take over a program as strong as Pike Liberal, and thanked Austin for everything he has done in the past.

“It is such an honor to take over a program with such great tradition. The fact that Pike is in the mix for a state title year in and year out is a testament to the outstanding job that Coach Butch Austin has done over the years. It will be impossible to fill his shoes, but I look forward to the opportunity to coach the same great group of young men that had the privilege of learning from a legend. We will work hard to ensure that the success of Pike’s baseball program continues.”

Ponder will also be a member of Gene Allen’s football staff, assist with the Pike basketball program and serve as head strength-and-conditioning coach for all Pike Liberal Arts athletics. He will also lend a hand with the junior varsity baseball team.

New Pike Liberal Arts headmaster Becky Baggett feels Ponder’s hiring will continue the tradition of Patriot baseball.

“As Pike begins a new era in baseball we are very fortunate that Allen Ponder, a very successful and energetic coach has joined our team,” Baggett said. “I look forward to working with Coach Ponder and anticipate great things to continue in our baseball program and beyond.”