By Will McClure
After 22 years of taking the field as head baseball coach, Coach Lannie Templeton announced his retirement last year, handing the responsibilities over to current head coach Jeremy West. However, even though he is no longer head coach, Templeton will forever be a part of Bulldog Baseball when he will be honored this Friday, April 24 as the Bulldogs take on the Hawley Bearcats in their final home game of the season. Former Bulldog players are invited to attend as Coach Templeton will be recognized along with the unveiling of a sign in the outfield. Ahead of this ceremony, Coach Templeton was able to sit down and reflect on his 22 years as head baseball coach.
Coach Templeton arrived in Stamford at the onset of the Bulldog Baseball program, becoming the first head coach of the program and setting the tone for years to come. When asked about those first years, Templeton stated that he doubted that the program would last more than two or three years, citing the program just getting started at the time and the lack of a previous program to build on. However the team, made up of freshman and sophomore players, ended up with an 8-9 season, one of only four losing seasons in Templeton’s career. Templeton stated that what helped the success of that first team was the fundamentals that they learned in Little League and believed that the first teams were fortunate to grow and evolve like they did. Templeton also cited that without the support of the school, the parents and the fans, the program would not have been successful, even when the team went through some rough patches. Although the team never won a state title, the closest being state runner-up twice, Templeton was satisfied and happy that the program was able to grow to the point where he felt the time was right to move on.
“Coach West knew what was going on. We had just lost our regional playoff game on the last day of school. The following Monday I made the announcement,” Coach Templeton said. He also stated that he had the desire to spend more time at home with his wife. Templeton said that he has a lot less stress now and gets more sleep at night, knowing that the program is in good hands. Even though he has stepped away from the field, Templeton stated that he still keeps in touch with the players, saying how he still gets texts from current Bulldog players telling him the score and how they did. Templeton said that has not been able to see a full game yet, stating that at the moment it is hard to sit and watch instead of coaching, along with the need to train for his current position at the Co-op Gin. However, he believes that Coaches West and Speck do not need any further help or advice from him, believing that the team is in good hands and is glad to see it go to them.
When asked what he missed the most, Templeton stated that he missed the students most of all and hanging out with them. He stated that he always wanted to have that presence no matter where the kids saw him, not wanting to be one of those teachers or coaches where students would not want to talk to after school. He said he also missed seeing students succeed when they thought that they could not. Seeing the students accomplish different goals, no matter if they were his baseball players or students in the classroom, is what Coach Templeton enjoyed the most.
After retiring, Templeton stated that he spent three months in the oil business, but found it to be not what he was expecting before moving onto other ventures. He eventually settled into a position at the Co-op Gin, which he states has been very welcoming and he enjoys his time there. However, coaching baseball is not completely out of his system as he coaches younger teams, teaching them fundamentals and getting them to love the game, something that those same coaches did with his first team. Templeton stated that he is even coaching the children of his former players and loved being able to watch his former players grow up and become responsible fathers in their own right, citing another factor of seeing them succeed.
Now, this Friday on the field, where Coach Templeton stated he spent hours mowing and taking care of during his time as head baseball coach, he will receive his well-deserved honor and permanent place within Bulldog Baseball. Templeton stated that he never expected this recognition and is very humble to receive it. He did not believe that he would make it as head coach all those years ago and would not be here today if it was not for the continued support of the Bulldog Nation. Twenty-three years after he first arrived, Coach Lannie Templeton will take his rightful place in Bulldog Baseball history and have a lasting presence on the field. Ex-Bulldog players and Bulldog fans are invited to attend this ceremony before the Bulldogs take on the Hawley Bearcats this Friday night. The JV game will begin at 4:30 followed by the Varsity team at 7:00. Thank you, Coach Temp, for all of your hard work and dedication and congratulations on this well-deserved honor!