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Gainesville High set to retire former baseball coach Wayne Vickery's number at Ivey-Watson Field
Former Gainesville High baseball coach Wayne Vickery chats with members of the 1996 state champions before a 2016 game, during a 20th anniversary celebration at Ivey-Watson Field.

The greatest run of Gainesville High’s baseball program had one man in charge: Wayne Vickery. 

On Friday, the school will retire the 20-year coaching veteran’s No. 18 jersey with a ceremony before the game against Stephens County at Ivey-Watson Field. 

From 1989-2008 while in charge of the Red Elephants, Vickery’s teams produced five state titles between 1996-2002, 470 victories and 13 region championships.

Now, his number will go up on the fence with some of the Red Elephants’ best players, including a pair of former big leaguers. 

“It’s pretty impressive to have my number up there with Micah Owings and Cris Carpenter,” Vickery said. “I had a lot of great assistant coaches that helped me along the way.”

At Gainesville, Vickery steered it to a three-peat as Class 2A state champions (1996-98). The Red Elephants also won back-to-back titles in 2001 and 2002. 

On Friday, Gainesville athletics director Adam Lindsay said they will play a video, starting 10 minutes before first pitch, then Vickery will throw out the ceremonial first pitch. 

The ceremony was originally scheduled for 2020, but was postponed when the season ended on March 13, due to the nation’s coronavirus pandemic. 

Few have had a legacy at Gainesville High as long as Vickery. 

A native of Hart County, Vickery spent 40 of 42 years in education at Gainesville. 

In addition to his long stint as baseball coach, Vickery was the Red Elephants athletics director from 2000-2015 and was in charge of the sports programs when they state championships in girls golf (2003, 2004 and 2012), boys soccer (2010), football (2012) and boys golf (2012 and 2013).