PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) – Gulf Coast baseball coach Michael Kandler announced he will be stepping down, but plans to hold his position as athletic director.
Kandler has spent 16 seasons coaching for the Commodores and coached the sport for 34 years. He also coached at Pine Forest High School and Alabama Southern before coming to Gulf Coast.
“Somebody asked me if I regret never coaching in the big time, until you’ve coached in the Panhandle Conference, you might not think it’s the big time, go out there and try it, it’s the big time,” Kandler said.
He’s had a record of 506-277 while with the Commodores and never had a losing season. He led the team to a Panhandle Conference Title twice with six state tournament appearances too.
He credits his success though to his players.
“You can see a bio and say ‘oh boy this guy won some games,’ I didn’t win any. The players win every one of those games, I’ve lost some games, I’ve made some horrendous decisions that lost us the ball game but I never won a game. The players won all those games,” Kandler said.
Kandler will continue to be the athletic director at the school and said he made the decision to step down from being the head baseball coach because it was difficult to juggle both jobs.
He had a some help from Roonie Scovel, the former athletic director the past few years, but since she’s officially retired now, he said it was going to be better to focus on one of the jobs.
He also said it’s time for a new face to lead the program.
“I just feel like it’s time the program needs a new voice, it’s time to move on. I’m very proud of what I’ve done, but kind of to me, it’s maybe stalled out a bit, it’s time for a new person to get out there and put their wisdom into it and I just feel it’s time to pass the torch at this time,” Kandler said.
Kandler has had a lot of highlights of his career, coaching seven major league players and more than 50 who have gone on to become coaches themselves.
He said he’s so grateful to have experienced so much and is excited for the next part of his athletic career.
“With all due respect to Mr. Lou Gerig and Robin Yount who borrow these words in his hall of fame speech, I really do think that today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the Earth,” Kandler said.
Kandler said they are searching for a new baseball coach as soon as possible and hope to get someone in the position by June.