Longtime Baseball Coach to Retire

Stickley to step down after almost 30 years at the helm

Pete Rathmell

For the first time in nearly 30 years, Coach Jeff Stickley will not be at the helm of the Washington and Lee baseball team.

Stickley, who will retire as the team’s all-time winningest coach, has been a mainstay at Washington and Lee for the past 29 years. He was the head baseball coach for the duration of his tenure and an assistant football coach for the first 17 years.

“He has spent half his life coaching baseball here. He was an assistant coach even before he was the head coach; I think he’s just ready to move on the next stage of his life,” Assistant Coach Brian Smith said.

Stickley is leaving the team after the Generals posted their worst record in decades at 8-16, but the team is not worried that the changing of the guard will further disrupt the program.

“We need to be the most productive baseball team on the field and believe we can win games with small ball and defense,” pitcher Tom Concklin, ‘17, said. “This also comes with the mentality of team over individual, and that’s the culture change that I really think is coming this offseason.”

Due to weather, the Generals missed nearly a month of their season and as a result, were forced to play numerous doubleheaders to make up for lost games.

“It has always been [the player’s’] team. With the way W&L is with academics, that’s not going to change.  How they do what they do will change, but the game isn’t going to change,” Stickley said.

The team hopes that they will be able to build off the struggles of last season and, under a new coach, start to reclaim some of the Generals’ former baseball success.

“We want to get to the ODAC tournament, which didn’t used to be an issue,” Smith said. “Making the semifinals was expected before, but now we want to get in and start rebuilding.”

Despite having a shaky last season, Stickley will go down in history as one of Washington and Lee’s greatest baseball coaches.  Beyond the number of seasons and the number of wins, Stickley made huge impacts on his players’ lives on and off the field.

“His legacy will be incredible. Not just because of how long he was here, but because of the impact he made on everyone he’s coached,” Smith said. “He won’t be forgotten.”

Although he is retiring from coaching, Stickley still plans on sticking around Lexington and teaching for the next four years.  Beyond that, Stickley said he has no idea what life has in store for him.

“I’m looking forward to seeing the baseball team in a different light. It’ll be fun.”