Head PCHS baseball coach resigns, takes on new role, other coaches make moves

Jonathan Raper resigned as the head baseball coach at Phil Campbell High School last week, ending an amazing career. Raper has led the Bobcats baseball program for 11 years which included a Class 3A state championship in 2021.

“This is one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make,” said Raper. “I owe so much to this school and this program. It has been the best time of my life. We’ve had a lot of success because of the kinds of kids we’ve had come through this program. They are dedicated to baseball, they have played it much of their lives and they work hard to be the best.”

Raper is not leaving education or coaching, however. He will be transferring to Belgreen High School where he will take over the startup football program left vacant by the recent, abrupt resignation of Luke Tucker.

Raper cited watching his two sons play baseball as the primary reason for for the change. His oldest son, Ridge, has spent the last two seasons playing baseball at Wallace State Community College and will continue to play at the University of Tennessee-Southern in Pulaski. His youngest son, Sage, just graduated and will also play baseball at UT-Southern.

“I’ve been a very lucky man,” said Raper. “I’ve been fortunate to coach both my sons, but I just want to sit back and be dad and watch them from the stands.”

Raper’s success on the diamond also includes four straight final four appearances, nine area titles and eight Franklin County championships. He has also seen 12 of his former players sign baseball scholarships.

His team’s most recent trip to the final four was this year, where the Bobcats lost to Gordo. The Bobcats finished the season 29-9.

Franklin County Superintendent of Education Greg Hamilton, who was also a college teammate of Raper at Northwest, expressed his gratitude.

“Coach Raper is a winner,” said Hamilton. “He’s a hard worker. There are not enough good words to express the positive impact he has made at Phil Campbell. He’s a hall of famer, and I’m proud to call him my friend.”

Phil Campbell will immediately begin the search for Raper’s successor.

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