David Reynolds is in his ninth season as assistant baseball coach at Parkview High School, his alma mater. Reynolds, a 2005 Parkview graduate, played baseball for four years. He played football three years and was a member of the 2002 Parkview state championship team.
In his Parkview coaching career, Reynolds has been a part of five baseball state championships (2011, 2012, 2015, 2018, 2019). He coached one season of baseball at Lowndes in 2009 and played one year of baseball at Valdosta State, where he graduated in 2009 with a political science degree.
In this edition of “Getting to Know...”, Reynolds talks with staff correspondent Jerell Rushin about his deep ties to Parkview, his injuries and more.
JR: Where are you from?
DR: I was born and raised in Lilburn, Georgia. I graduated in 2005 from Parkview High School. I was a member of the 2002 football state champion squad as a sophomore. I did not play my senior year for football when we hosted and lost to Lowndes in the state championship for football so I could focus a little more on baseball. Baseball career, I played for both Coach (Hugh) Buchanan and Chan Brown. Chan’s first year was 2005, which was my senior year. I had the honor to play for both of the head coaches at Parkview High School. Those are the only two head coaches in Parkview High School since it opened up in ‘76.
JR: What’s it been like being a part of the tenures of such historical figures in the Parkview and Gwinnett baseball communities?
DR: Well, both of them are hall of fame coaches. So that’s pretty special to be able to develop the baseball skills and be coached by both of them, just good baseball people and good men. Good examples of how to be a father, a teacher, a coach, an adult, a man. Both of them are in that category for me. Coach Buchanan is still very important to Parkview baseball. He still has influence and checks in on the guys to make sure we’re continuing the Parkview way. Coach Buchanan’s impact, even though he’s working for the Atlanta Braves, he’s still got it going on for us at Parkview. It’s been just a blessing. Couldn’t ask for more. Just good men, hard-working, blue-collar. Just good baseball knowledge. We want to share that knowledge. Chan Brown was in my wedding just to show how important he has been in my life and also my relationship with my wife. He made the cut.
JR: Who else are you pretty cool with over there at Parkview?
DR: The baseball staff on campus that we’ve had at Parkview, our wives sit together, and they watch the games together very consistently. All our kids grew up semi-together. Really, the whole coaching community at Parkview is there to support each other pretty consistently and very thoroughly. We all know that we all go to each other’s games.
JR: Did you play in college?
DR: I played at Valdosta State. I was a preferred walk-on. Towards the end of my freshman fall year, I had an injury and lost a step that you can’t afford to lose at the next level. Going into my sophomore year, my coach said, ‘Hey, listen. What are you thinking?’ I said, ‘I’m good coach. I know where I stand. I don’t want to be out here wasting you guys’ time.” Valdosta State has a good education program. I knew right away that the day I hung my spikes up that I was ready to stay involved in the game and coach baseball. It all worked out well, and I was content. Coach (Tommy) Thomas at Valdosta State might have been the winningest Division II baseball coach at the time, so another powerful mind in baseball to be around. So when he sat me down and said what do you want to do? I said, ‘I don’t want to waste your time, so I appreciate the year and a half.’ So not much of college career.
JR: You said you lost a step that you couldn’t afford to lose. You hear about these injuries all the time, the Achilles injury and ACL. What’s it like seeing it happen to you? How big is that lost step when you have an injury?
DR: About three months later of doing nothing, like you said whatever the injury is, you’re away from the game that long enough to where those guys are still getting bigger, faster, stronger and all of the above. Going into it at being 5-foot-9, I’m not your typical size for a college infielder. So I was already behind the 8-ball per se from the get-go. When you get those injuries, it makes you appreciate and understand what you have. Some guys just get out here and may take it for granted sometimes. Whatever sport you play and whatever day it is that you hang up your spikes, you definitely look back and want to say you gave it your all. When Coach Thomas came to me, I was content with what I had done. As short as my career was, I was happy with my career from the playing side of things. It makes you appreciate what you’re doing, and it’s frustrating for sure when you know it’s slipping away and you can count the days down. It’s frustrating to see it with all the time you spent go away now. But I wouldn’t change it for anything. Preferred walk-on, I knew what was in front of me and behind me.
JR: Every player can’t go on to have that long career. Those chances of making it to the majors are just so slim. When you have somebody at Parkview that wants it, but they don’t get that scholarship opportunity, what do you tell them?
DR: At Parkview we’re pretty fortunate because how the program is built, we put a lot of guys in college. This year, I believe that all 13 seniors that want to go to college to play baseball are going to go play baseball in college somewhere. The one that is not going, if he wanted to go, he probably could go find somewhere and make it 14 out of 14. The goal is for all of our players is to go play college baseball somewhere. Then it becomes, ‘Do I want to go to Gordon State in the middle of nowhere and try to make it?’ Or do I say, ‘No, I’m good and and go to the University of Georgia and be a student and have the fun college time and that kind of stuff.’ You sit them down and talk to them, ‘Listen, as hard as it is to play here at Parkview, it’s about the same, if not harder, at the next level too.’ You go to the weight room, class and then practice, and that’s in the fall when you’re not playing another team. You do the exact same thing in the spring, but you’re traveling a lot more. You kind of map it out and make sure that those guys that are halfway uncertain with what they want to do or not want to do so they know completely what they’re going to get themselves into if they commit to playing at the next level. We always say, ‘Of course we want you go play college baseball or whatever you want to do.’ We’ve had guys join the military right after graduating high school. Whatever they want to do, we want to facilitate that. If it’s not play college baseball but it is go to UGA and, ‘Here’s my plan for the next four years or whatever it is,’ we’ll support that. We don’t look down on those who don’t want to go to college baseball or go to college. Like anything else, you’re a second parent to them. We try to map out, ‘If you want to do this, that might look like this.’ We try to be transparent with them and be that secondary or third level of advice for those guys.
JR: What’s been one of your more memorable games at Parkview? You’ve been here for about 10 years.
DR: 2010 was my first year back at Parkview on the staff. You can walk down memory lane and look at 2011 state championship, 2012 state championship, 2015, 2018. My No. 1… I don’t know. I’ll give you two, and you can pick. 2011 semifinals, we went down to Colquitt County, fantastic environment for baseball. Just packed house, three-game series. We ended up winning in Game 3. Just the trip, being on the charter bus with the squad and going out of town and deep in enemy territory in Moultrie, Georgia, where they have a great fan base. Finding a way to just win that game somehow. That’ll be one of them for sure. We won the semis in Moultrie and went on to beat maybe Hillgrove the next week. Let’s scratch all that and go 2012. We beat Brookwood for the state championship. I don’t know if it gets any better than that, beating your archrival in the state championship. That also put us back-to-back state championships. They had Lucas Sims. We had Matt Olson. Head-to-head, just really good baseball. I guess the good guys came out on top, I don’t know.
JR: Did you grow up a UGA fan?
DR: My entire family is from South Carolina, so I grew up a Clemson Tiger fan. You would never guess that.
JR: Not at all. I grew up a Georgia Tech fan and took on Alabama, too.
DR: My family lived on a vegetable farm in South Carolina. [They] send vegetables all over the Southeast. You can buy them right here at the Kroger and Walmart in Lilburn. Clemson’s the agri-school for South Carolina, so everybody went there. I’m one of the few outcasts in the family that did not get a diploma from Clemson University.