(Photo by David Jenkins)
SIKESTON -- Sikeston head baseball coach Kevin Self is retiring from Sikeston High School.
Self is saying goodbye to his alma mater and the place where he spent the last 15 years guiding Sikeston baseball back to a string of state tournament appearances.
He will leave Sikeston to take a position at The Christian Academy as principal.
"The hardest part of leaving was the coaching part of it because I'm still going to be in education," said Self. "I've been debating for quite awhile on doing it now or wait for two or three years, but this opportunity, I felt like it was God's will and this was the time that he opened the door. In the last week-and-a-half it's developed.
"It wasn't an easy decision, but I think it was the right decision."
Self compiled a record of 266-98 while at Sikeston High School. After starting as the head coach in 1997, Self took the Bulldogs to three state tournaments and won six district titles.
Self's Bulldogs finished second in 2001, fourth in 2002 and third in 2004 in the Class 3 Show Me Showdown. In 1998, in just his second year, the Bulldogs were defeated by the eventual state champion, Chaminade, in Class 4. In 2005 and 2007, they lost in the sectional round.
Self has been a head coach in baseball for 16 years. His first year as a head coach began at Scott County Central where he commanded the Braves to a 9-8 record.
He began his teaching career at Southland where he spent seven years. He taught at Scott Central for four and the last 15 years at Sikeston.
Overall, Self had a career coaching record of 275-106.
"I have thoroughly enjoyed my years here at Sikeston," Self said. "I don't think I could have come in at a better time. The groups of kids that I've coached,...I've had some really good players and really good teams.
"I leave with a lot, a lot of good memories of Sikeston. I'll always bleed red and black."
Self leaves on the heels of a surprising run by his Bulldogs in the Class 4, District 1 tournament where his squad lost in the championship game against Cape Central as the fourth-seeded team.
The Bulldogs finished 14-7 and appeared in their first district title game since 2007.
"My batteries were kind of charged and ready to go with the season we finished with and the way we played, but, God had other plans," Self said. "It's been a fun ride, but I'm at the point to where I can see they need some younger blood, new blood in. It wasn't that I wanted to leave coaching, it was an opportunity that I prayed about and thought about and it was God's will for me to take this other job."
For more on Self's retirement and his baseball career at Sikeston High School, check out the Sunday edition of the Standard Democrat.
KEVIN SELF: BY THE NUMBERS
Career Record: 275-106 (16 seasons)
Record at SHS: 266-98 (15 seasons)
District titles: 6 (1998-2001-2002-2004-2005-2007)
Top finishes: 2nd in Class 3A in 2001; 3rd in Class 3 in 2004; 4th in Class 3A in 2002