LaFayette baseball promotes Langford to head coach

Published 8:45 pm Friday, June 21, 2019

LaFAYETTE — The Bulldogs’ baseball program has a new voice.

Former assistant Robert Langford has been officially named the new head baseball coach at LaFayette High School.

“I feel very blessed to have Coach [Don] Turner as a principal,” Langford, who will also remain the school’s football defensive coordinator, said. “He is a super guy. Dr. [Kelli] Hodge as a superintendent. You couldn’t ask for two greater people, I’ve been in education for 28 years, have been several places, but LaFayette is where I’m at now and I plan on staying there until I retire if they’ll keep me around.”

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His motive is simple: To continue to grow the love of the sport in the community.

“I’ve got to get them to first and foremost respect the game of baseball,” Langford said. “There has not been much respect for the game. There’s a pastime with basketball, football and track. Some guys are involved with the other sports, and sometimes some of those athletes won’t take baseball as serious. If I can get them out there, get them to practice, get the numbers out, then I think that we can be very successful.”

Langford said that his goal is to turn the Bulldogs program around as he did as the head coach at Notasulga High School in the early 2000s. At Notasulga, he led the Blue Devils to a win in the state playoffs in his second season at the helm. He came to Notasulga from Tuskegee Institute, now known as Tuskegee University.

He also said that he believes that this past season’s success from crosstown rival Lanett making the state playoffs for the first time in 17 years will motivate his team to succeed next season and beyond.

“It shows them that you can make the playoffs and that they can advance in the playoffs,” Langford said. “When you lose, at the end of the game and it’s a loss, it’s got to hurt. It can’t be something that you take lightly, it’s got to hurt in your heart.”

The new hire is replacing Micheal Pattillo, who resigned from the position this past spring and was recently named a new assistant principal at LaFayette. Langford expressed his gratitude for Pattillo’s efforts to improve the program during his time as the coach with efforts like posting a new sign behind the outfield wall at the field.

Despite losing 2019 graduates Trevor Vines, Trey Beaty, Me’Kevion Shealey and Markevious Tolbert, the Bulldogs plan to return key players Julius Bullard, Qua Green, Joel McCurty and Chandler Winston.

“I’ve got to get in the hallways and get some kids out to play,” Langford said. “They all play little league, but then they stop playing after that, so I’ve got to get the numbers up.”

Langford said that he’s already been out on LaFayette’s field to keep the field conditions well-kept by turning on the sprinklers in the field so far this summer. He also plans to host some program fundraisers to help the team.

“I need the community to help out,” he said.