Pair picks up Coach of the Year in first season

May 15—The Tahlequah Tigers baseball team went from fewer than 10 wins per season to 20 wins in 2024.

After it was all said and done, the Tigers were heavily honored in the District 5A-4 awards. The Tigers improved on a large scale by making the State Tournament.

"Our team this year did something no one besides the guys in that locker room thought would happen. They did the work. They fought the fight," THS head coach Cody Pair said.

Pair was named Coach of the Year in his first season as Tigers head coach. But he said his job is more about avoiding mistakes than anything else.

"As a coach, I have learned I am much less responsible for the wins and much more responsible to just try to not mess it up," Pair said.

The players were a big part of his success. THS picked up 11 players named to the All-District team this season, earning Player of the Year and Pitcher of the Year in the process.

"I have been really spoiled in my career," Pair said. "I have been able to coach some incredible young men and have been able to coach along more incredible men. My reaction is still the same as it has been anytime I have been fortunate enough to get that recognition: The players deserve that award. The assistant coaches deserve that award."

Pair credited the people around him for this season's success. Rusty Dillard picked up Assistant Coach of the Year for his contributions to the Tigers' 24-win season.

"The assistant coaches coached their tails off. Rusty Dillard was named 3 Rivers assistant coach of the year," Pair said. "Tate Christian and Tanner Christian were instrumental to our player development. Matt Cloud is not only one of the best, if not the best, athletic directors in the state, he also coached my junior high baseball team — and you should see how those guys grew. This is not to mention that my wife absolutely carries me and our family. She is the one who deserves more credit than I do."

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