Johnathan Willis/FCT Former Central-Phenix City head baseball coach Chris Heaps was hired at Russellville Tuesday.

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Heaps hired to lead RHS baseball program

Published 5:59am Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Russellville city school board turned to an old rival Tuesday in hiring the system’s new baseball coach.

Chris Heaps, who led Central-Phenix City to the 6A state semi-finals earlier this month in his only season at the school, was hired to lead Russellville’s baseball program.

Heaps replaces David Ward who stepped down in April after seven seasons as head coach of the Golden Tigers.

Heaps is a 1990 graduate of Hartselle High School where he was the second baseman on the Tigers’ first state championship team that year. He was an assistant at Hartselle for 15 seasons before taking the Central-Phenix City job last year.

“I really hated to leave after just one year, but this was an opportunity that I had thought about before and one I just couldn’t pass up,” Heaps said.

The comparisons between Hartselle and Russellville made him feel a little more at home.

“Russellville and Hartselle are very similar,” he said.

“Both have solid little league programs that feed into one high school and that’s important,” Heaps said. “In a situation like this you can put together youth camps and work with the little league programs and know what you have coming through.”

Russellville’s new facilities and a renewed commitment to the baseball program in recent years were keys in his decision to make the move at this time, Heaps said.

“Success is determined by sincerity, commitment and work ethic,” he said.

“If we couple those things with the facilities that are in place, we will be successful.”

Heaps and his wife have four children.

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