Redan baseball: same expectations, new coach

For the second time in as many seasons, Redan High School’s baseball team will start the season with a new head coach.

Derwin McNealy has taken over the Redan Raiders program—which has gone further in the playoffs than any other DeKalb County baseball team during the previous two seasons—and said he knows the heights the program can reach.

“I worked at Redan as an assistant for three years, from 2018 – 2020, under coach Alex Wyche,” said McNealy, who has also worked in the Georgia high school ranks as an assistant coach at Dutchtown High School and a head coach at Newton High School.

He added that he also knows about DeKalb baseball and Redan baseball from his time as a student athlete.

“I’m back home. I’m a product of McNair High School, where I played under coach Deion Williams and had a lot of battles with coach [Hall of Fame Redan coach] Greg Goodwin. It feels good to represent for my peers and my community and that’s a huge reason I came back,” said McNealy.

Despite the local familiarity, McNealy is bringing more to Redan than his high school coaching resume indicates.

Redan’s new coach started his baseball coaching career in 2005 as an assistant at University of Arkansas Pine Bluff – where he had just graduated and finished his playing career at the time. McNealy then returned to Westlake High School and coached in 2008 and 2009 before leading Clark Atlanta University from 2010 – 2014.

McNealy added that Redan already has the blueprint for success and he wants to push the program to the next level.

“We’re trying to figure out a way or get over the hump without trying to reinvent the wheel or come in and do anything that would mess up the success that we’re already having,” said McNealy. “I’ll also bring some new things in that will propel us to where we ultimately want to be.”

McNealy had plenty of offseason work to accomplish, with last year’s senior class of Bernard Moon, Adriel Martinez, Kaden Cook, Juniel Guzman, Tae Weatherspoon, Jamie Howze, Antretz McDowell, and Luis De La Cruz graduating.

Redan will have no shortage of talent for McNealy in year one. The Raiders boast athletes such as Collin Brightwell—who has already committed to play baseball for the Oklahoma Sooners in college—and several other high-caliber athletes.

The Raiders also return seniors such as Jaden Johnson, Eris Smith, and Daelyn House for the upcoming season.

The Raiders will start the 2024 season on Feb. 7 at 6 p.m. with an away game against a Jackson High School team that went 23-8 last season.

 

Photo by Mark Brock

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