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Baynes enjoys special day

By Michael Butler

Former Tallassee coach Ronnie Baynes got his day.  The city proclaimed Ronnie Baynes Day during its Tallassee Now! celebration at City Hall.

Jonathan Johns, played for ten years under Baynes from Little League until the end of high school.

“Coach was not just involved in high school athletics, he was involved in the community from the tee ball level on up,” said Johns.  “I think it helped with our success.”

Johns said Baynes signified excellence, grit and esprit de corps (a French term meaning a feeling of pride, fellowship and common loyalty shared by members of a particular group).

“Excellence just doesn’t happen,” Johns said. “After several years we were great as a team.  He strung a lot of great teams together and built an excellent program.

“(Grit) is the stuff inside someone that allows them to beat the other guy.  It’s a swagger that champions have.  It’s not cocky or arrogant.

“Esprit de corps is that sense of togetherness that allowed us to be successful.”

Baynes was 249-103 at Tallassee as the baseball coach, although the former three sport star at Auburn and Talladega High School also coached football and girls basketball while at THS from 1974-’92.

“I love Tallassee.  We raised our kids here in a great community,” said Baynes. “This award means a whole lot to me.  I love all my players.”

The Hall-of-Famer won five state titles in Tallassee.  He split time coaching and officiating football in the SEC and NFL. In 2001, he became Supervisor of Officials for the NFL.

“The NFL sent a retired police detective to Tallassee,” Baynes stated on Saturday.  “Danny Wilbanks said, ‘He’s a great guy.  We go to the dog track every Thursday night.’

“The officer talked to Bobby (Payne) for an hour and a half and hasn’t gotten a straight answer yet.”

Mark Baynes, one of Ronnie’s three sons was in attendance and pleased with the ceremony.  “I’m very proud.  It’s a great day.  Thanks to Jonathan  (Johns) and Tommy (Wisener) for putting this on.”

Baynes was presented a key to the city and his now retired "13" jersey. He got sentimental when reminiscing about his Tallassee years.

“I’m older now and look back on the way I treated these guys,” he said.  “I kind of feel bad about it.  Maybe I was too harsh.  It reminds me of what Coach Bryant said when he had a reunion with his players.  He saw what great people they’ve become.  Then he knew everything was okay.  Seeing these guys makes it okay.”    

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