Shope steps down as Mercer baseball coach

July 18, 2004|MIKE MARSEE

HARRODSBURG - Jeremy Shope, who led Mercer County to the 12th Region baseball tournament in each of the last five seasons, has resigned as the school's coach.

Shope, who coached the Scotties for seven seasons, is leaving his teaching and coaching jobs to work as a sales representative for Jostens, a company that sells school products such as class rings and yearbooks.

"From a family point of view, it was something that I couldn't turn down," Shope said Friday. "Everybody at Mercer County is like my family, but my family is my wife and two little girls. It could be a good opportunity to better my family, and that was the reason I made this decision."

Mercer has reached the regional tournament every year since 2000, advancing to the semifinals on two other occasions.

"I feel like the program is better than when I got it, and that's all you can ask," Shope said. "I'm real proud of what I've been able to accomplish, what a lot of people have been able to accomplish in the baseball program.


"I had wonderful support. The coaching staff was unbelievable, the players took a lot of pride, the parents took a lot of pride."

Shope's teams won four 46th District championships. He was named The Advocate-Messenger Area Coach of the Year in 2002 and 2004.

The Scotties were 19-17 this season, winning a district title but losing to eventual champion Pulaski Southwestern in the first round of the regional.

Shope leaves behind a program with a great deal of potential for 2005 and beyond. The Scotties will return all but one starter from this spring's team.

"We've got a good team coming back ... and we've got another good young group coming from the middle school," he said. "It was hard to leave, but when you're thinking about your family, you've got to do what's best for them."

Shope said his new job wouldn't allow him to coach as a paraprofessional because spring is one of the company's busy seasons.

"Summers are kind of slow, so that may give me an opportunity to be around the game during the summer," he said.

But Shope will get to stay around Mercer County, as he said the job doesn't require him to move and he doesn't plan to.

"I love this area," he said. "It was tough on my family moving here eight years ago, but this is what we call home now."

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