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High school baseball: Carpenter, Owings tabbed to lead Red Elephants program
New Gainesville High baseball coach Cris Carpenter, left, and director of program operations Micah Owings, right, meet with players Tuesday at the school's Student Activities Center. Photo by Katie Davis For The Times

Gainesville High has completed assembling a baseball coaching staff that has woven together some of its greatest athletes in school history.

On Tuesday, it was announced that Cris Carpenter would serve as Red Elephants head coach, while Micah Owings will have the title of director of program operations.

Carpenter and Owings, who have a combined 14 years big-league pitching experience, take the position previously held by Adam Miller, who stepped down April 24 to become Gainesville’s assistant athletics director.

“This isn’t about bringing in two former professional athletes so our student-athletes can learn what it takes to play at that level,” Gainesville athletics director Adam Lindsey said. “This is about bringing in two former Red Elephant athletes who are going to instill what it takes to play to the level of excellence on which Gainesville baseball built its reputation.”

Owings and Carpenter both compiled amazing high school careers.

Owings steered the Red Elephants to back-to-back state championships in 2001 and 2002.

During his two seasons playing at Gainesville, Owings amassed a 24-2 record on the mound and hit a staggering 40 homers, 25 his senior season (a single-season state record).

For his career, Owings is still tied for the state record with 69 homers.

Carpenter served as pitching coach for the Red Elephants when Owings, and his younger brother Jon Mark, now also an assistant coach, were players.

“It’s always been an honor to be a part of Gainesville baseball and be a Red Elephant,” Carpenter said. “Having been gone (from coaching) since 2005, it’s going to be great to be back out there, and a special honor to get to do it with two guys I coached.”

“Today is a great day to be a Red Elephant, a blessed day,” Owings said. “It’s been 20 years since I’ve put the Gainesville uniform on, and it’s a blessing to get to wear it once again alongside my best friends Carp and Jon Mark. This opportunity goes deeper for me because it means giving back to the community that gave so much to me and has remained my home. There is no greater tradition that I know of in sports than the Red Elephant tradition and I’m ready to work.”

Carpenter, meanwhile, is also one of the most accomplished athletes in Gainesville school history.

After a superb prep career in baseball, football and basketball, Carpenter went on to pitch at the University of Georgia, then was a first-round pick by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1987.

Gainesville’s basketball program last played for a state championship in 2015.

In 2023, the Red Elephants finished with a 13-15 mark.


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