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The coaching legacy of Childersburg’s Chad Slaten goes beyond the baseball diamond

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CHILDERSBURG, Ala. – When talking about high school baseball and sports in general, you can’t talk for long without mentioning one man from Childersburg whose coaching influence has reached many young athletes, causing them to go as far as they can on the field or court.

One of those athletes, in particular, is his son who is now a pitcher at AUM (Auburn University at Montgomery).

Chad Slaten grew up in Childersburg where his parents Eddie and Dianne instilled in him to pursue things by doing it your very best in your own way. His father Eddie taught him a lot about the game of baseball including how to throw one very well, and his mother Dianne is still his biggest fan today.

He also had the advantage of being around other great baseball coaches throughout his playing days like Coach Box, Coach Blake, and Coach Garland Justice who the field is named after in Childersburg.

Chad graduated from Childersburg High School in 1988 and continued his baseball talents at AUM where he graduated in 1993. He had the luxury of playing in two collegiate World Series at that level.

In 1990, he pitched in the series in Lewiston, Idaho where he captured the win vs. Saint Francis. In 1992, he pitched in the series in Des Moines, Iowa against Oklahoma City where he left the game in the seventh inning with a 2-1 lead and ended up with a no decision.

Slaten really excelled even more when the title “Coach” was added to his name.

In the fall of 1993, he returned to his hometown and was the ninth grade football coach, B-team basketball coach, and the JV baseball coach at Childersburg.

He waited his turn, and in 1995, he became the head baseball coach of the Tigers, and he held that position for 21 years. The numbers from there are just simply remarkable.

In 21 seasons, Coach Slaten and his teams claimed 17 area titles, 12 county championships, and the pinnacle, two state championships in 2002 and 2007.

If that is not enough, 39 of his players continued at the next level, four were drafted, and numerous ones have followed in his footsteps to become head coaches.

One of those was Zealous Wheeler, who played four different positions for the legendary franchise, the New York Yankees, in 2014.

However, his success didn’t just come in baseball.

Coach Chad Slaten also had the honor of being the head basketball coach to one of Childersburg’s most iconic sports figures, Gerald Wallace.

Wallace is a 14-year NBA veteran and is now an assistant basketball coach at Childersburg. With many trophies and awards in his case, Gerald is very giving to his hometown and grateful to have played there and now be coaching there.

Coach Slaten said, “I remember waking up in 2014 and watching SportsCenter for three days in a row and seeing two Childersburg Tiger athletes on the Top Ten plays of the day, Gerald Wallace and Zealous Wheeler.”

Coach Slaten also attributed his success to his family as he added, “My Mom and Dad have been in my corner and are still my biggest fans. They are not alone though, I could not have made this far without my loving wife, Karen. She is my rock and is the glue that keeps it all together.”

Reid, their son, has been supportive of everything they have done. Their youngest son, Ryan, is also an exceptional pitcher and has just finished two years at CACC.

Guess who his coach was?

Chad Slaten, who now holds the title of Assistant Coach of the CACC Trojans.

Ryan has also put out some pretty impressive throwing numbers. He played his seventh and eighth grade years at Sylacauga while his dad was the head man of the Aggies. He then played his four years of high school ball at Benjamin Russell where he attained All-State honors as a pitcher his junior and senior years in 2020 and 2021.

Ryan finished his high school career as a top ten pitcher. In two years as a Trojan of CACC, with his dad calling his pitches, he compiled a 14-6 record while finishing both years in the conference in the top ten of strikeouts, ERA, and innings pitched. He led the conference in 2023 in innings pitched.

Ryan said, “I guess I was most proud of striking out ten batters in three consecutive games.”

Ryan was just named Pitcher of the Year for the Montgomery Metro League which is an organization of college and semi-pro players.

Congratulations, Ryan! Make it happen at AUM, just like your dad. The Slatens will keep throwing it up there, and I’ll bet that it will be pretty hard to hit!

 


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