Valdez heading to Ariton

Published 3:00 am Thursday, June 22, 2017

Former Pike Liberal Arts junior varsity baseball coach Jonathan Valdez has been named the new head baseball coach at Ariton High School.

“It’s exciting,” Valdez said. “It’s a great opportunity and it came at the right time. I am ready for the challenge.”

Valdez was head coach for the Patriots for the past two seasons at Pike. Following the conclusion of the season, Ariton reached out.

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“Right after the tournament they contacted me and they told me they wanted me,” Valdez said. “I was excited. I told myself that I wanted to explore my options and see what is out there. I was very loyal with Pike, but I knew it was time for me to find my own way.”

Valdez made a lot of memories while coaching for Pike. From coaching his players to taking class trips to his native country Puerto Rico, it was a fun experience.

“There are a lot of memories,” Valdez said. “I have nothing but positive things to say. I made trips to Puerto Rico and that was an awesome experience, not only for them but for myself. I really created a good bond with the students. Not just with my players but with all the students. I have some great memories and I am pretty sure they will have some memories. It was great.”

Ariton will be the first varsity head coaching position for Valdez, but he believes with his background that it should be a smooth transition.

“Baseball doesn’t change,” Valdez said. “I have treated my JV teams like they were on the varsity level. I am not going to change my personality as a coach. The biggest difference will be the students. They are going to have different personalities and attitudes. I am going to have to bring a positive attitude around the kids.”

Valdez will be teaching Spanish at both Ariton and G.W. Long High Schools.

Will Austin has been named the new JV head coach at Pike Liberal Arts.