VOTING CLOSED: Vote for the Braves Baseball Coach of the Week: Week 2

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Coaches teach young athletes about hard work, passion and good sportsmanship — skills that are just as important off the field — and can instill a lifelong love of the game.

This summer, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Atlanta Braves are teaming up to honor the youth baseball and softball coaches who are making a difference on the field and in their communities.

ExploreVote for the Braves Softball Coach of the Week: Week 2

“We would like to recognize the outstanding coaches in Georgia providing our young athletes with exceptional playing experience. The most important thing to know is the fundamentals, but there is so much more than that,” the Braves said in a statement.

This week’s nominees have all demonstrated outstanding dedication to providing youth athletes with exceptional playing experiences. Check out their profiles and vote for your favorite. Not only will the winning coaches be profiled in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, but each will also receive a $100 gift card from Kroger and a baseball autographed by a Braves player.

Vote for your favorite coach

Voting is now closed. Winners will be announced on Tuesday afternoon on the Braves Coach of the Week page.

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Brian Dean is nominated for Braves Baseball Coach of the Week.

Credit: Handout

Brian Dean is nominated for Braves Baseball Coach of the Week.

Credit: Handout

Combined ShapeCaption
Brian Dean is nominated for Braves Baseball Coach of the Week.

Credit: Handout

Credit: Handout

Brian Dean

As a coach at the Jasper County Recreation Department, Brian Dean “has always stepped up when others would not coach and volunteered his time with the kids in our community,” Stephanie Dean wrote in her nomination of the coach.

“We have a small community of people, and everyone wants to be on coach Dean’s team,” she continued, “because he loves the kids and what he does, and he teaches them to be better in a loving manner, not yelling or degrading them. (He) never talks back to umps or ever causes a reaction.”

Suzanne Chambers also nominated coach Dean.

“He has always picked up some of the boys on practice days and game days, and has always been willing to drop them back home. Jasper County is a rural area, but a great hometown feel! I appreciate coach Dean and all he does for the youth in Jasper County,” she wrote.

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Donovan Rickman is nominated for the Braves Baseball Coach of the Week.

Credit: Handout

Donovan Rickman is nominated for the Braves Baseball Coach of the Week.

Credit: Handout

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Donovan Rickman is nominated for the Braves Baseball Coach of the Week.

Credit: Handout

Credit: Handout

Donovan Rickman

Cierra Poston nominated Donovan Rickman because, she said, “even with his busy life and schedule, he still manages to be there for the boys on and off the field.”

“My 9-year-old loves baseball and has since T-ball. Out of all the coaches we’ve had over the years, Donovan has been the only one to really teach and work with my son,” she wrote. Her son, she said, “is a lefty and loves to catch. Most coaches just threw him behind the plate during games, yelling at him on what to do or not to do. Never any catching practice.”

That’s not how Rickman coaches, however. “My son has never loved the sport more until now that he is on a travel ball team with (Rickman) as a coach. He teaches these boys true sportmanship and respect. Even when we lose a game he’s picking the boys up,” she continued. “We’re not at tournaments chasing rings like some teams. The actual sport is what matters — and seeing our boys happy doing what they love.”

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Dustin Rutledge is nominated for the Braves Baseball Coach of the Week.

Credit: Handout

Dustin Rutledge is nominated for the Braves Baseball Coach of the Week.

Credit: Handout

Combined ShapeCaption
Dustin Rutledge is nominated for the Braves Baseball Coach of the Week.

Credit: Handout

Credit: Handout

Dustin Rutledge

What makes Dustin Rutledge such a good coach? According to an anonymous nominator, it’s “the way he forms a team, and the bond he has for his team is unmatched. It takes a special person to coach 6U baseball and do a great job at it!”

Abby Smith, who also nominated Rutledge, agreed.

“Coach Dustin is an amazing person, and I’m not sure how he does it all! During the day he works as a sergeant in the Fulton County Marshal’s Department. Then 10 out of the 12 months a year he coaches Little League Baseball at the Senoia Athletic Association,” she wrote. He installs core values and how hard work gets you the win! He is not only loved by the boys on his team but the parents wouldn’t want anyone else to teach their kids.”

Braves Baseball Coaches of the Week

Week 1: Doug Spence