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Hillcrest baseball coach stepping down


Hillcrest head coach Todd Agee congratulates Parker Barton (12) after hitting a three run homer during the Patriots 11-0 win over the Hoover Bucs on March 13, 2012. (Photo by T.G. Paschal)


TUSCALOOSA | Todd Agee, head coach of the Hillcrest High School baseball team for nine seasons, plans to pursue a new career.

Agee, 39, didn’t specify what his next job will be, but he said he wants to spend more time with his family. He and his wife, Renee, have two daughters, 12-year-old Mary Glenn and 5-year-old Lila.

“Spending time with my family is the main thing,” said Agee, who coached the 2007 Patriots to the AHSAA Class 6A chamionship. “I’m giving my (coaching) duties on my own accord.

“My love of the game of baseball is not ever going to change, but now I can watch my daughters participate in their activities.

“I told my 12-year-old, ‘Daddy’s not going to be coaching baseball anymore,’ and she said, ‘Well, Daddy, that’s all I know.’ I said, ‘Well, baby, it’s going to give Daddy an opportunity to do the things that you want to do.’”

Agee played football and baseball at Demopolis High School and graduated from the University of West Alabama. He worked at Demopolis for a year before moving on to Hillcrest. He was a football and basketball assistant during his career and was a baseball assistant for seven seasons before replacing Dennis Alvarez as the Patriots’ head coach

“I have gotten to work for some great administrators,” Agee said. “I’ve gotten to work with some great coaches. I’ve also been fortunate enough during this time to coach some great players. The relationship I built with them will carry on for the rest of my life.”

Agee said his teams qualified for the playoffs nine straight years and won area titles four times.

“Our philosophy was basically to outwork people,” Agee said. “We had guys who came to practice every day to get better. We always played a tough schedule, and the guys always rose to the occasion.

“You would take young men in the ninth grade, and, hopefully, by the time they were seniors not only were they better baseball players, but they were better young men. The work ethic that they learned here will be able to sustain them as young men and then as fathers as well.”

Hillcrest’s 2007 team was led by John David Smelser, a senior pitcher and second baseman who was chosen “Mr. Baseball” by the Alabama Sports Writers Association. Smelser set an AHSAA record with 92 hits and had 76 RBIs and 63 runs scored.

The Patriots went 44-20 to tie for fourth in the AHSAA ranks for single-season wins. Hillcrest set state records with 520 runs, 611 hits, 461 RBIs and 138 doubles.

In the championship series, the Patriots lost 5-1 in the opener against Russell County. Hillcrest trailed in the fifth inning of the second game but rallied to win 12-8.

“The top of the lineup was coming up, and I basically told them, ‘This is it. It’s now or never,’” Agee said. “I believe we sent 10 batters to the plate before they recorded an out, and all 10 scored. I think we had something like six doubles, a couple of singles, a walk and a hit batter.”

Hillcrest erupted early in the final game and beat Russell County 19-4 in five innings.

“I wouldn’t trade anything for the experience I had here,” Agee said.

Smelser went on to play baseball at the University of Alabama.

“Todd has done a great job in our community developing great players on the field and great people off the field," Crimson Tide baseball coach Mitch Gaspard said. "He's had a lot of success winning, winning a state championship, and we have had enjoyed his hard work at all of our camps. We wish him well in his new endeavors."

 Reach Andrew Carroll at andrew.carroll@tuscaloosanews.com or at 205-722-0223.