By Brandon Speck/NEMS Daily Journal
Daniel Threadgill had to pause and take a breath.
Threadgill, the 2013 Daily Journal Coach of the Year, led Kossuth to its first major sports championship in May, the Class 3A baseball title. Then he abruptly took a job on the other end of the state, down at Class 4A Vancleave. He left a young group that will be favored to win at least one more title.
“Yeah, it’s tough,” Threadgill said, then paused. “It is. I don’t really think about the talent, as I do the guys. I know their goofiness and I know when they step between those lines, it’s business.
“Everything else, life’s too short.”
The Hatley graduate and championship assistant at Nettleton earned his keep at Kossuth – back-to-back title trips. But no coach is immune to rumors or misunderstandings, on any level.
Threadgill says he wasn’t forced out or asked to leave. He’s convinced Vancleave is where he is supposed to be.
He pushed Vancleave – and other offers – away more than once and is making more than a baseball sacrifice.
Threadgill, wife Anna and kids Skylar, 6, and Easton, 5, are five hours away from parents and grandparents.
“I’m not a pastor, but I do think this is a calling. I don’t know what that is. It may be a kid or family down there we can help,” Threadgill said. “I felt that way here at Kossuth and know there are kids I helped, saw four of my players baptized.”
The Aggies had already climbed for their fourth-year coach, nearly winning state with a bunch of seniors in 2012. Seven of those starters graduated and Threadgill still guided his crew back.
Threadgill is a tough coach who gets his players’ best effort. Through tough practices – some of the tougher drills he took from Nettleton championship coach Jerry Pitts – and risk-taking moves, he has become one of the state’s top young coaches.
He moved infielders to the outfield early this season and even stole home in the title series against Sumrall.
“It was supposed to be a rebuilding year, to propel these younger guys. I still wake up at night and wonder if it really happened or not,” he said.
Threadgill gives a lot of credit to a group of unselfish upperclassmen – and also to his assistant coaches, who had to coach the final 13 innings of the North championship finale after he got tossed for arguing a call.
It’s the end at Kossuth, but a beginning on the coast.
“Vancleave really opened some doors and we felt like it was God’s will,” Threadgill said.