A Changing of the Guard in High School Baseball

Dutch Fork’s Casey Waites calls it a career

By Thomas Grant Jr.

The 2024 high school spring sports will truly go down as one highlighted by the changing of the guard.

Dutch Fork baseball coach Casey Waites became the latest long tenured sideline leader to call it a tenure. He announced it in an Instagram post where he thanked everyone he’s worked with in a 26-year career.

“I had been blessed to be a part of a state championship with football at Lamar with coach J.R. Boyd and three with the A.C. Flora baseball program under Andy Hallett,” he said. “I have been blessed beyond anything I ever deserved coaching these past 26 years. When you’re younger you think about winning to measure achievement.

“My first-year coaching, I coached the Lamar softball team to state runner up. As stated earlier, I got to be a part of those state championships at Lamar and A.C. Flora. Obviously, 2019 was a special time winning the state title (at Dutch Fork). One of my fondest memories was being the assistant coach for Chapin Newberry Post 193/24 in 2018 when we won state.”

Dutch Fork head coach Casey Waites holds the Class 5A baseball title with players in 2019

For all of Waites’ coaching success, it’s the memories, stories and relationships developed during his career and the lives he positively impacted which mean as much as the titles.

“I will remember each and every player I was blessed to coach at Dutch Fork,” he said. “I have a list of all the players I coached at Dutch Fork during the past 11 years. 

Waites still plans to teach for two more years before going into full retirement. He also sees himself in a group of coaches who’ve positively impacted high school baseball.

“I’m a history guy and look up to those who came before me,” Waites said. “David Horton at Bamburg, Al Berry at Dutch Fork, Mike Johnson at Georgetown, my high school coach Bill Harvey at Newberry, etc. I consider myself to be a part of the middle group of coaches alongside Andy Hallett, Mark Bonnette, Brian Hucks, Randy Stokes, Thane Manus, Brooks Shumake, etc. The game will move on and continue to thrive in this state.”

Waites’ departures makes it three high school baseball coaching vacancies in the Lexington/Richland county area:

  • Seth Cooper resigned as White Knoll baseball coach after three seasons, during which he led the Timberwolves to their first playoff win since 2017.
  • Barry Fogle, the longtime Pelion head coach, retired after a 37-year career that included 546 victories and five region titles. Fogle was inducted into the S.C. Athletic Coaches Hall of Fame in 2022 and the S.C. Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame in 2023. Josh Lang, a former Pelion player and assistant coach at Broome and Limestone College, will replace him.
  • Banks Faulkner resigned after one season at American Leadership Academy in Lexington. Faulkner previously served at Blythewood High School for six seasons and won the 2016 Class 4A title at Summerville. He is currently an assistant coach for the Lexington County Blowfish.
  • Russ Charpia will no longer coach the baseball team at Brookland-Cayce but will continue to coach football and serve as athletics director.

Feature Photo: Dutch Fork head coach Casey Waites wears a commemorative WWE championship belt. Photos by GoFlashwin.com