BYNG — Bubba Tamez finally got to scratch his itch.

Byng Schools named Tamez its new high school baseball coach earlier this month, replacing Luke Yost, who resigned abruptly last month. Yost was named the new head coach at Edmond Memorial High School in late June.

Tamez, who hasn’t coached a high school game in nine years but has spent the last six summers as the manager of the Ardmore Cardinals American Legion baseball team, is excited about his new role.

“I obviously still have the itch to be around a baseball game. I don’t know if you ever lose that,” Tamez said. “Obviously, I’d be willing to do anything at Byng that I could to help our school and our kids. I told them I’d be more than willing to do this.”

Coincidentally, Tamez had someone approach him about getting back into high school coaching shortly before the Byng job came open.

“I was asked about it one day — by someone outside our school — if I ever thought about getting back into coaching. I told them if the right opportunity ever presented itself,” he recalled. “I was talking with Capps one day and asked him where we were (on finding a new baseball coach) and told him I was somewhat interested.”

Tamez started his prep career as an assistant coach at Coalgate High School. After one year with the Wildcats, he moved to Caney for three years as the head baseball and boys basketball coach.

His last high school coaching gig came at Thackerville, where he was the head baseball and assistant football coach for two years. He started his administrative career at Lone Grove nine years ago.

“I was content with going into administration. I love everything about that,” he said. “You always have that itch deep down (to coach). I don’t know if a coach ever gets rid of that. I’m eager to get back in it.”

Tamez began immediately working with the Pirates, and their summer schedule culminated with a Maroon-White scrimmage at Stokes Field.

“I found out in the first week of practice we have kids that know the game and understand the game and are working their tails off to do well,” he said.

Tamez said the transition was a bit easier for him and the team since they already knew each other from his time as principal.

“They’ve worked hard for me since day one. They’ve come out and given good effort. Anytime you lose a coach, there’s always a time where people have to see how things are going to be done differently. I think the way the things are done ... will be real similar as far and on the field,” he said.

The Pirates won the Class 4A State championship under Yost last spring. However, the team will have a new look after losing seven talented seniors off that state title club. Still, there are high expectations at Byng year in and year out.

“I don’t think the expectations ever change at Byng. Championships are what they’re about.

“Obviously, we’re not going to have the field experience we had last year, losing all those seniors,” he said. “We have a lot of young kids (including around 10 freshmen) out this year. We have one senior, and a handful of juniors and sophomores.”

Tamez said the Pirates will be asked to represent the school in a positive manner both on and off the field.

“First and foremost, our attitude, our effort and our character have to be right. Byng’s a classy place, and they’ve thrived on that for years,” he said. “We’re going to continue to have those expectations. We’re going to play hard with the right attitude, with the right effort level, and we’re going to expect our kids to act right and do right and try to keep up the winning tradition.”

Tamez will have experienced help. Bryan Capps, the school’s athletic director and a former Byng coach himself, will be the team’s assistant coach.

“You take a position like Byng High School baseball and you get in a situation where you get a Bryan Capps on your staff ... he’s been around the game as long as I’ve been alive. He was a heckuva player and a state championship coach,” Tamez said.

“His family is ingrained in baseball. His coaching experience and the wisdom he carries is beneficial to anybody he encounters on or off the field,” he continued. “I’m very pleased to have coach Capps out there helping me.”

The Pirates open the season Aug. 10, when Tupelo visits Stokes Field.

“I just felt like this was a great opportunity that presented itself. I’ve always felt like God has open doors for me and closed them at certain times. I certainly enjoy being around the kids and love the game,” Tamez said.

Jeff Cali has been covering sports in the Ada area since the mid-90s. He graduated from Byng High School and earned a bachelor’s degree from East Central University.

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