Chester’s legacy will become even more impressive Saturday when he is inducted into the GHSA Georgia Dugout Club Hall of Fame in Atlanta, putting him amongst the elite high school and college coaches in the state.
“To be in there with some of the guys that are in there is, of course, humbling, and I feel very, very fortunate to have this opportunity,” Chester said. “Baseball is not an individual sport and there’s a lot of people who have put forth a lot more effort than I have to allow me to get this honor.”
There are currently 60 members of the Georgia Dugout Club Hall of Fame. The Georgia Dugout Club is a coaches association that has been around since 1962, and Chester believes the honor he will receive Saturday is among the highest honors a high school baseball coach can receive.
“It ranks up there. I look at the Bobby Howards and Danny Halls (both GDC Hall of Famers) and seeing those guys, I took some things from their programs and how they did things and it kind of helped mold my philosophy for baseball,” Chester said of where the honor ranks among his career achievements. “It is probably more of an individual thing. I don’t think it can take precedent over state championships because that’s about the kids and that’s really why I’m in the sport, educations for the kids. I don’t think it will exceed a state championship, but I can share it with all the guys who have played for me.”
The voting for the hall of fame is done by the Georgia Dugout Club board of directors. Chester said he was surprised to hear he had been nominated so early in his coaching career.
“I got a call from Harvey Cochran (a Georgia Dugout Club officer) probably three or four months ago and said that I had been nominated,” Chester said. “It kind of hit me two different ways. It kind of made me feel old. I feel like I still have some good years left, but once it sunk in, of course I was very appreciative and very honored just to be recognized with my peers.
“To be honest with you, I was looking on the thing and I think I am the youngest [member of the GDC Hall of Fame].”
Chester also will be recognized as the 2013 AAA Coach of the Year at the same ceremony to be held at the Crowne Plaza Atlanta Perimeter Hotel at Ravinia at 11 a.m. Chester has been named the Georgia Dugout Club’s Coach of the Year four times in his career. The Cartersville program also was named the Program of the Decade from 2000-2009 by the Georgia Dugout Club.
He will be honored along with former player Conor Justus, who was named the Georgia Dugout Club’s 2013 AAA Player of the Year.
Chester currently sits at 475 career wins entering the 2014 season and hopes for many more as the coach of the Purple Hurricanes.
“I’ll keep going as long as Cartersville will let me hang around,” he said.