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Coaching legend Don Hanson retires

For 20 years, coach Don Hanson has been at the helm of the Pirates baseball program and he recently announced his retirement from coaching baseball. In addition to earning two AAA State Championship titles, he was named the 2021 and the 2022 AAA Baseball Coach of the Year. In May 2021, he won his 400th game as baseball coach for the Pirates.

“I have been so blessed to have had the opportunity to coach baseball here at Pike for 20 years. When I started here, I just wanted to represent Pike well. I wanted to leave it better than I found it. I wanted to make it a program that others would respect because we do things the right way. The support from Pike County Schools, our community, parents and players have made this job an absolute joy to be a part of,” said coach Hanson.

“We have the greatest fans in the world here Pike. Thank you to all our current and former players, current and former coaches, fans, and supporters. I could have not accomplished the career that I have had without you.”

Hanson has inspired generations of students – on and off the field, including current Pirates baseball coaches like assistant coach Blake Parrott.

“Don started his tenure here at Pike in 2004. I was a sophomore on the baseball team and man let me tell you, he worked our tails off. He did much more than coach us to be the best baseball players, he taught us to be the best version of ourselves,” said Parrott. “He worked tirelessly to turn The Jack into one of the best high school baseball facilities in the state. We all took so much pride when playing on that sacred diamond and he played a major role in why. Coach took Pike County baseball to another level. He deserves a lot more credit than he gets that is for sure. He changed a lot of lives and I’m so thankful to have witnessed and experienced it all in the 11 years that I have been a part of this program. I was with coach Hanson when he first started and I am so blessed to have been with him when he decided to call it a career. I can’t thank him enough for all that he has done for me, this program and this community. I love him like a second father and we all should be thankful for everything he has done during his time leading the Pirate baseball program. He not only won on the field, but he has won in the game of life too. So with that I say, thank you Coach Hanson!”

Middle school teacher Bonnie Turpin said she appreciates all Hanson has done, including honoring her father for his support of the Pirates baseball team.

“He and his family have always been so kind to my father and such great friends to the Turpin family. To see him finally cross the threshold into a state championship in 2019 was a dream come true that we celebrated with him,” she said. “But most importantly are the lives of all the young men he influenced so positively in his service to Christ. I wish you as many happy years of retirement as my dad had, Don!”

Joshua Ridikas worked with Hanson and the Pirates from 2017-2020 as their athletic trainer.
“It was so special to be with them at their state championship win in 2019! Congrats to Don Hanson on his great career with the Pike County Pirates,” he said.

Over the years, his words resonated with generations of baseball players, including Jarret Andrews.

“Coach Hanson gave me a shot to start my senior year. I began the season as a starter but after a few games I’d made a few errors and bad attitude crept in. One particular game I had made an error or two and was mumbling in the dugout. Coach overheard my groans and said I better figure it out fast,” said Andrews. “The rest of the season didn’t go so pleasant for me but his words have always stuck with me. Whenever something doesn’t go my way or I find myself complaining, “you better figure it out fast” is a stark reminder to keep going and pressing forward, even when I don’t feel like it. And ultimately, figure it out.”

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