Lambert named baseball coach

Published 3:29 pm Monday, August 15, 2011

Escambia County High School coach Andy Lambert has been named the head coach of the Blue Devils' baseball team.|File Photo

Baseball season is still several months away, but the head coaching position at Escambia County High School was filled on Monday with the defensive coordinator of the football team being named to the position.

Andy Lambert, who has been at ECHS since head football coach Mark Heaton brought him on board in 2009, will take the reigns of the program that is coming off of a three-win season last spring.

The spot became available once the season ended, but it was only after months of the position being open that Lambert decided he wanted to coach baseball.

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“The position was open, and the school was having a hard time filling the position,” Lambert said. “I began thinking about it and spoke to my family about it, since it is a large responsibility, and once I felt like it was something I was interested in, I spoke to coach Heaton. Coach Heaton then relayed my interest to Mr. (Zickeyous) Byrd, who decided to give me this opportunity. I appreciate them giving me this chance, and I look forward to trying to improve the status of the program.”

The chance to Lambert over baseball was on that athletic diector Mark Heaton saw as smart.

Lambert’s background with a competitive program was a benefit, Heaton said.

“Andy has been apart of a competitive baseball program before when he coached at Excel,” Heaton said. “Those guys were in the hunt for a state championship every year, and he had the opportunity to be apart of that. We are looking foward to getting him on board in that capacity, so he is able to build on what’s here at ECHS.”

Lambert’s background in baseball goes back several years when he coached at Elba High School.

Most knowledge came from coaching at Excel High School, Lambert said.

“I’ve been coaching baseball most of my career,” Lambert said. “I started out coaching two years at Elba as an assistant coach, and then I spent 7 years as an assistant at Excel. We had some good success at Excel, and I learned a lot from the head coach there, Robby Carpenter. He’s great friend of mine, but he’s also an excellent baseball coach. I learned a lot from him. We went to the quarterfinals three times and the semifinals once. Just being around that kind of program gave me a lot of insight and knowledge.”

The track record that Lambert has as an assistant with a strong program like Excel could be a strength for the baseball players at ECHS.

His work ethic is the characteristic that gives Heaton confidence in him, he said.

“He’ll do a great job,” Heaton said. “He’s a hard worker and he’ll be organized with what he does. At the same time, he’s a fundamental and detail guy, so it will allow the players to learn from the bottom up.”

Taking over a program with three wins is not often looked on with enthusiasm, but Lambert sees it different.

He wants his team to work hard from start to finish, he said.

“I know the success of the program has been limited in the past, which a lot of that is hearsay,” Lambert said. “I have not had the opportunity to evaluate the type of talent that we have on the team, but what we are going to do is work hard and focus on the fundamentals. We are going to work every day and work on getting better from the first day of practice until we finish the season.”

No matter the win-loss record, Lambert wants to field a team that is seen in a positive light.

The character of his players will be what matters to him, he said.

“I really just want that these young men represent Escambia County High School and the Atmore community well,” Lambert said. “We want to put a quality program on the field with guys that Atmore can be proud of.”