Darlington native Justin Gandy named coach in Chesterfield
By Will Isgett, Contributing Writer
When Darlington native Justin Gandy graduated from Darlington High School in 2007, he has aspirations of one day becoming a head varsity baseball coach.
Recently, his dream came true as he was officially announced as the head varsity baseball coach at Chesterfield High School.
“I was certainly hoping to land a head coaching job one day,” Gandy said. “I didn’t know it would be this soon.”
Gandy, played varsity baseball under former Darlington High School varsity baseball coach Robbie Smith.
Coach Smith said he is proud of his former player.
“I’m really proud of Justin for being named head coach at Chesterfield,” Smith said. “They have a great program and I know he will do a great job there.”
Smith said that Gandy was always a student of the game.
“He was never the most talented player on the team,” Smith said. “But he maximized his talent as much or more than anyone I’ve ever coached.”
Gandy said Smith has been a vital part of his success.
“I really respect Coach Smith when he was my coach,” Gandy said. “He’s been extremely helpful to me.”
While at Darlington, Gandy was a three-time all-region selection earning the Leadership Award in his junior year and while taking MVP honors in his senior season for the Falcons.
Gandy attended Coastal Carolina University earning his bachelor in history and master’s degree in education and while a student he served as an assistant coach at Carolina Forest High School under legendary coach Jack Jolly.
For the past three seasons, Gandy has served as head Junior Varsity baseball coach and assistant varsity coach at Manning High School while teaching at the school.
Now he will take his talents to Class 2A Chesterfield High School to coach a traditional power that won the Class A state championship in 2011, under head coach and current Rams athletic director Jimmy Weatherford. Gandy takes over for coach Chris Lloyd who stepped down after two years.
“I’m extremely lucky to be able to take over a program that has so much tradition,” Gandy said. “It’s a great privilege and opportunity for me to named head coach.”
“They’ve had a couple of down years,” Gandy said. “I want to get them back to fundamental baseball.”
Gandy is the son of Tammy and Artie Gandy of Darlington.
Gandy said he that wants to thank his parents and the players and staff at Manning High School for making this opportunity possible.