Home News-Free Ronnie Coker Hits a Career Home Run, Wins the Gold Star

Ronnie Coker Hits a Career Home Run, Wins the Gold Star

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Gold Star -- Ronnie Coker

Perusing Airline High Athletic Coordinator Ronnie Coker’s resume is like reading that of a Hall of Famer. Two baseball state championships. Nine district championships. Louisiana Sports Writer Baseball Coach of the Year. Louisiana Baseball Coaches Association Coach of the Year. Twice named Louisiana Regional Athletic Director. Oh wait. Sure enough, there it is. Louisiana Baseball Coaches Association 2019 Hall of Fame Inductee.

Over the course of his 33-year coaching career, Coker has won many titles and accolades and made an enormous impact in the world of baseball. More importantly, though, he has won hundreds, if not thousands, of people’s hearts along the way. That is because for Coach Coker, it is not about the wins or losses. It is about the relationships made both on and off the diamond.

“Relationships are so important to me,” Coker explained. “To watch a young person grow, mature and continue to learn is very important. I personally take joy when I see former students, players and colleagues succeed in their life. To me, true joy comes from placing others before you. You experience success everyday. Success is not a destination but a journey.”

Even the briefest of exchanges with Coker make an impression. Logan Pearce says he is “the backbone of Airline, constantly encouraging everyone.”

Rachel Bryant adds “Coach Coker is the person that pumps us up every morning. He is that person that every student loves and he just brings so much joy to a room. My students love him and can’t wait for him to stop by the classroom to see them. He knows most students by name, if he hasn’t already made up a nickname for them (which is HUGE in a school as big as Airline).”

And Airline Assistant Principal Jamie East calls Coach “Mr. Motivation. Champion of students. Head cheerleader and tireless supporter.”

“There are no words strong enough to describe Ronnie Coker,” East adds. “He truly loves Airline, every student, every staff member, and our entire community. There is no one that he won’t drop everything for if they need a shoulder to cry on or a speech to spur them over a hurdle. He is the brightest Gold Star in Airline’s universe and we are so thankful for all he gives to each of us each day.”

The void Coker will leave when he retires at the end of this school year is undeniable, which is why his colleagues wrote heartfelt nominations for him to be chosen as Bossier Schools’ final Gold Star recipient of 2020-21.

Temporarily sidelined by illness, the surprise announcement was made at Coker’s doorstep — complete with a motorcade led by law enforcement, followed by Airline administration and well-wishers waving signs. He and wife Kelly dabbed tears as the procession rolled by.

Among those in on the Gold Star surprise were Bossier Schools Superintendent Mitch Downey and Assistant Superintendent Jason Rowland, who was the former principal at Airline. For many years, he and Coach Coker worked side by side.

“I used to say that everything Coach Coker touched turned to gold,” Rowland said. “He has been a cornerstone for the culture that has been established at AHS, but before his tenure at the ‘A’ he did the same for Parkway High School, Byrd High School and Captain Shreve High School. With every stop he has made, the fingerprints of Coach Coker are all over the school and community. His recognition today is very deserving and defines the spirit of what we should all hope to become.”

Airline Principal Justin James echoed those sentiments.

“He mentors the young people here at Airline and works hard to build relationships with each and every student and staff member he crosses paths with. He has become one of my dearest friends and will be tremendously missed,” James added.

When Coker officially hangs up his cleats, it will be those connections he made each day that he will miss most. And if he has one wish, it is that he left a legacy.

Lead/model the behavior
Encourage and/or compliment everyone you meet within the first 30 seconds
Grow — continue to push yourself to learn and get better
Assist — have a servant’s heart
Commitment — be committed with an all-in mindset
Yes; when someone asks, your answer should be yes. An “others first” mentality

“At the end of the day, the only thing that we can leave is a legacy,” Coker explained.

He has certainly done that and now has a Gold Star to prove it.

Editor’s note: Bossier Schools extends thanks to Bossier Federal Credit Union for sponsoring the Gold Star award for the last nine years and looks forward to the 2021-22 school year when more outstanding BPSB employees are recognized with the Gold Star.

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