By Doug Gorman
With the Jonesboro baseball team headed to the Class AAAA state tournament starting next week, long-time head coach Don Corr has a little more work to do before his era with the Cardinals is done.
However, the school didn't have look too far to find Corr's replacement.
Thursday morning Radu Patel, the current coach of the Cardinals' ninth-grade baseball team, was introduced as the man who will succeed Corr on the baseball diamond.
Corr announced early this year he was stepping down as head coach and athletic director after accepting a job as assistant principal at Etowah High School in Cheerokee County. Jonesboro head football coach Larry Mortonson has already been named to take over for Corr as the school's new athletic director.
Corr has been at Jonesboro for more than two decades, winning more than 300 games on the baseball field. Corr will end his career with three straight trips to the state tournament.
"I know I have some very big shoes to fill," said Patel. "He has established a successful program here, and I will work hard to keep the tradition going."
At 26, Patel is not too far removed from his own days as a high school baseball player.
The new Jonesboro coach played at Atkinson County High School in south Georgia and was part of a team that won 26 straight games in 1997.
After high school, Patel played college baseball at Savannah State for two years before graduating from the University of Georgia with a degree in math education.
His first coaching experience came as an assistant at Fayette County, before moving to Jonesboro this year.
Patel also worked under the direction of former boys' basketball coach Mack Cain this season, coaching the ninth-grade team.
"I have had a chance to learn a lot working with coach Corr and Cain," he said.
"It prepared me for this opportunity. I enjoy working with kids, and preparing them for life after school. Of course, one of my biggest goals as baseball coach is to win championships."
One of Patel's first jobs when he official takes over as the school's new baseball coach will be putting his staff together.
"We have to have an interview process, and find out what teaching slots we have open," he said.
"I'm sure everything will fall into place."