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Fort Walton Beach High School names Tony Stevens as new head baseball coach

Tony Stevens, a former major league baseball player and decorated Marine veteran, has been named the new head baseball coach at Fort Walton Beach High School, where he aims to bring stability and energy to the program.
Tony Stevens, head baseball coach at Fort Walton Beach High School

Fort Walton Beach High School announced Friday that Tony Stevens, a former major league baseball player and decorated Marine Corps veteran, has been selected as the new head baseball coach.

Stevens, born in Fort Walton Beach, brings a unique background and diverse experience to the role. He played shortstop in the Minnesota Twins organization, rising through the ranks to Double-A before answering the call to serve his country following the 9/11 attacks.

  • “I just knew it was time to join the Marines,” Stevens said of his decision to leave baseball for the military. “I went to the recruiter’s office and pointed at the wall, there was a guy coming out with the Marines classic poster. I said, ‘I want to be that guy.'”

As an infantryman, Stevens served three tours of duty in Iraq with Alpha Company, First Battalion, Second Marine Regiment. He fought in the Battle of Nasiriyah during the initial invasion, an experience he described as an “eye opener,” and survived a record 11 IED explosions. His story provided inspiration for the Nicholas Sparks book “The Lucky One.”

Throughout his military service, Stevens maintained a connection to baseball. The Twins organization honored him by inviting him to throw out the first pitch and raise the flag at their games. 

“Baseball and Marines always tied into what I was doing,” he said.

After his military service, Stevens briefly returned to the Twins organization before transitioning to coaching. He spent five years as an assistant baseball coach at Covenant College in Georgia. For the past three years, he has been the head basketball coach at Calvary Baptist Church in Fort Walton Beach, where he led the team to success against larger public schools.

  • “I love taking the underdog role and really building up from there,” Stevens said of his coaching philosophy. “You gotta do the job, you can’t let anything outside noise bother you.”

Stevens, who resides in Fort Walton Beach with his wife and seven children, also works full-time at Eglin Air Force Base as a joint inspector. He says he is eager to bring stability, discipline, and fundamental skills to the Fort Walton Beach High School baseball program.

“I want to create a program where these athletes want to come back here and coach, and eventually take my place,” Stevens said of his goals for the team. “I’m looking forward to bringing some energy to the game.”

Stevens’ ties to Fort Walton Beach High School run deep. His parents are alumni – his father was the starting pitcher in the first-ever baseball game against rival Choctaw High School, while his mother was on the school’s inaugural cheerleading team.

With his extensive background in baseball, military service, and coaching, Stevens is excited to make a positive impact on the Fort Walton Beach High School baseball program and the lives of the student-athletes he will mentor.

Summer baseball kicks-off for the Vikings on June 4.

2 Responses

  1. Congrats! Don’t be too hard on the kids, they are a little sensitive. You may lose your job.

  2. I was sitting in that recruiting office when he walked in and did exactly what he said! Semper Fi Marine,

    Gunny Stone

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