HANCEVILLE, Ala. — Wallace State Community College baseball coach Randy Putman was recognized Friday, Dec. 9, for having reached 1,000 wins in his career. Putman was one of seven coaches receiving the 1,000th Career Win Club plaque, which was presented during the Alabama Baseball Coaches Association’s (AlaBCA) Annual Coaches Convention held at the Wynfrey Hotel in Birmingham.
“I’m very appreciative of the award,” Putman said, adding he’s heard from many former players since the award was announced. “It was very exciting to hear from a lot of the former players. I would never have been able to accomplish what I did without them. You can’t do it without dedicated and passionate baseball players. I also want to thank good Lord for giving me excellent health to be able to do something that I love to do.”
Putman’s record at WSCC is 1,167-542, a .683 winning percentage in his more than three decades at the college. He is currently the 4th all-time career-winning coach active in the National Junior College Athletic Association. He’s guided his teams to seven Alabama Community College Conference (ACCC) championships, six Southeastern Regional Championships and six World Series appearances on the Division I level.
Originally from Birmingham, Putman has coached 36 Wallace State players who have continued their careers professionally, including Oakland Athletics reliever Chad Smith; free agent Craig Kimbrel, most recently of the Los Angeles Dodgers, an 8-time All-Star, World Series champ and the 2011 National League Rookie of the Year; former MLB infielder Jake Elmore who is now with Philadelphia Phillies organization as an instructor; former MLB pitchers Derek Holland and Graham Godfrey; and Zelous Wheeler, who, in 2014, became the fifth former Wallace State player in six seasons to make his MLB debut. Putman also coached former major league outfielder Terry Jones, who played for the Montreal Expos and Colorado Rockies.
In 2018, Blake Rivera was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 4th round of the MLB First Year Player Draft, becoming the second-highest draft pick in Wallace State baseball history next to Kimbrel (3rd round, 2008). He’s currently pitching for the Double-A Richmond Flying Squirrels.
Putman will begin his 34th season with the Lions this spring when play begins for the 2023 season. Throughout his career, he has been named the ACCC Baseball Coach of the Year in 1992, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002. He was also inducted into the Alabama Junior College Hall of Fame in 1991, the NJCAA Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame in 2006, the Alabama Coaches Hall of Fame in January 2009 and the Cullman County Hall of Fame in 2013.
Before coaching in Hanceville, Putman compiled a 152-28 career record at Tate High School in Pensacola, Fla., where he won two Class 4A state championships and coached former big leaguers Jay Bell (now the Rocket City Trash Pandas manager) and Travis Fryman. Putman played collegiately at Jacksonville State, earning All-Conference honors, and played professionally three years with the Kansas City Royals and San Diego Padres.
Registration for the Spring 2023 semester is currently underway, with classes beginning Jan. 9 for regular and Mini Term I. Mini Term II classes will begin March 8. Online Flex Start courses will begin Jan. 16 for Flex Start I, with registration from Jan. 14-Jan. 20, and on Jan. 23 for Flex Start II, with registration from Jan. 21-27. Register at www.wallacestate.edu or contact an advisor via Lion Central at 256.352.8238.