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High school baseball: Micah Owings eager to hit the ground running with Gainesville's program
Micah Owings

Micah Owings wants to bring back the luster that comes with playing baseball at Gainesville High. 

If anyone knows what that entails, it’s the two-time state champion for the Red Elephants and former big league pitcher. 

On Tuesday, Owings was introduced as part of a package deal to run Gainesville’s baseball program, which will be led by new head coach Cris Carpenter, also a Red Elephants legend and big league pitcher for many years. 

Since taking on the new role with the Red Elephants baseball as director of program operations, Owings said he’s received overwhelming support from the community, which he has continued to call home since retiring as a player in 2018. 

“I’m very humble, honored and excited about this opportunity,” said Owings, who is still tied for the state record for career home runs (69). “We’re going to do the best we can to make the community proud. We’re going to work very hard, but have a blast doing it.”

Combined, the two men at the top of Gainesville High’s baseball program have 14 years of big-league playing experience. 

Carpenter takes the position previously held for five seasons by Adam Miller, who stepped down April 24 to become the school’s assistant athletics director. 

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

Since Owings isn’t an educator, he can’t have the formal title of head coach. 

However, Carpenter has been on staff at Gainesville High for more than 20 years and is more than qualified to have the position, having played for eight years in the majors, after being picked in the first round of the 1987 draft (14th overall) by the St. Louis Cardinals. 

Also, Micah’s younger brother, Jon Mark, will continue working with the Red Elephants, specializing in hitting and working with the outfielders, while their older brother, Josh, will coach with the middle school program.

Since taking on a leadership role with Gainesville’s baseball program, Owings has been thinking a lot about all the good memories he made playing for the Red Elephants. 

The best memory, he said, was running down to the lake after winning state those two times to jump in the water, a tradition that started with the programs three-straight championships in 1996-98.

After going 21 years since last winning a state championship (eight years since playing for a state title), Owings would love to be able to be a part of bringing Gainesville’s program back to a point where it can do the celebratory jump into the cove that’s down the hill behind the right-field wall at Ivey-Watson. 

However, that will require winning at the highest level. 

“We’re focused on doing what we can do, day in and day out, to build this program the right way,” said Owings, who enjoyed a six-year MLB carer pitching with the Arizona Diamondbacks, Cincinnati Reds and a brief stint with the San Diego Padres. 

As a player, Owings was one of the driving forces behind Gainesville’s 2001 and 2002 state championship, going 24-2 on the mound those two seasons.

This isn’t Owings’ first role in coaching. 

Since 2020, Owings has managed the Gainesville Gol’Diggers, the Sun Belt League program for promising college talent to compete during the summer. 

Also, he coaches his nephews at the youth development level. 

However, getting involved with Gainesville’s program sparks a sense of nostalgia for Owings. 

In a way, the new coaching staff for the Red Elephants is getting the band back together. 

When Owings was a player, his pitching coach and mentor was Carpenter. 

That sparked a now decades-long friendship that will continue on the field at Gainesville High. 

Out of high school, Owings was a second-round MLB pick by the Colorado Rockies, but passed on the chance to turn pro, in order to play at Georgia Tech. 

In 2003, Owings was ACC Rookie of the Year and First-Team All-ACC for the Yellow Jackets.

In 2004, he transferred to Tulane, a move highlighted by a trip to the 2005 College World Series. 

After completing his college career, Owings was a third-round draft selection by the Arizona Diamondbacks. 

In the big leagues, Owings had a career 32-33 record on the mound and threw in 138 career games (68 starts). 

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