VOTING CLOSED: Vote for the Braves Baseball Coach of the Week: Week 3

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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 3

“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 closed. Winners will be announced on Monday afternoon on the Braves Coach of the Week page.

Vincent Altimari

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Vincent Altimari is nominated for the Braves Baseball Coach of the Week. Photo courtesy of Vincent Altimari

Credit: Photo courtesy of Vincent Altimari

Vincent Altimari is nominated for the Braves Baseball Coach of the Week.
Photo courtesy of Vincent Altimari

Credit: Photo courtesy of Vincent Altimari

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Vincent Altimari is nominated for the Braves Baseball Coach of the Week. Photo courtesy of Vincent Altimari

Credit: Photo courtesy of Vincent Altimari

Credit: Photo courtesy of Vincent Altimari

Altimari’s dedication is evident from the nearly dozen nominations he received.

“Vince always goes the extra mile for youth sports,” Angie Housley wrote in her nomination. “He puts his whole heart into coaching. He gives his time and energy to the kids and treats them all as kids with potential. Vince is a good coach who wants to better the player as an individual as well as a team mate. "

Kayla Altimari wrote: “Coach Vincent doesn’t play daddy ball. He leaves no kid behind. His patience is unlimited. His love for the game and his team is unmatched. He gives coaching his all. He lives for baseball.

“My grandsons have learned so much from coach Vince. His love for the game shines through on to all the kids that he coaches,” James Lyon wrote. “There is nobody more deserving for this award than him. He coaches with his while heart. If he could live at the baseball part he would. He is always willing to help coach or help whenever he is needed.”

Buck Thigpen

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Buck Thigpen is nominated to be the Braves Baseball Coach of the Week. Photo courtesy of Buck Thigpen

Credit: Photo courtesy of Buck Thigpen

Buck Thigpen is nominated to be the Braves Baseball Coach of the Week.
Photo courtesy of Buck Thigpen

Credit: Photo courtesy of Buck Thigpen

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Buck Thigpen is nominated to be the Braves Baseball Coach of the Week. Photo courtesy of Buck Thigpen

Credit: Photo courtesy of Buck Thigpen

Credit: Photo courtesy of Buck Thigpen

“Coach Buck is the definition of a positive youth sports role model. He teaches his players what it means to be great people while also teaching them the skills needed to be great at the sport they are playing,” Kaitlyn Thigpen wrote in her nomination.”

“Buck works very hard with the kids that he coaches,” she continued. “He not only teaches them about the sport of baseball, but he is teaching them about life. He wants for all of his players to be successful on and off of the field. He works in a calm but caring manner and is the best role model for his players.”

Adam Brooks, who also nominated Thigpen, wrote: “Coach Buck Thigpen exemplifies what it means to be a positive role model as a youth sports coach. He is the 8U Baseball All Star coach for Ware County Recreation Department. The motto he set forth for his players this season was E.A.T. The E stands for effort. Coach Buck told the players that their effort is one thing that doesn’t take talent to possess. The player with the least amount of talent and the player with the most talent can both show great effort in every aspect of the game. The letter A stood for Attitude. He stated that a player’s attitude is also something that does not take talent to possess. He teaches his players that no matter what happens on the field, controlling their attitude is vital in keeping the game from getting out of hand. The T is Teamwork. He preaches that each member of the team is just as important as the rest. Even if they aren’t playing as much as the others, they are still a vital part of the team. Before and after each practice/game, Coach Buck reiterates the meaning of EAT. Off the field, coach Buck is active in his players’ lives in school. If one of his players is having issues in school, coach Buck will come to the school and have a conversation with them and remind them to EAT properly.”

Nikki Van Horn

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Nikki Van Horn is nominated to be the Braves Baseball Coach of the Week. Photo courtesy of Nikki Van Horn

Credit: Photo courtesy of Nikki Van Horn

Nikki Van Horn is nominated to be the Braves Baseball Coach of the Week.
Photo courtesy of Nikki Van Horn

Credit: Photo courtesy of Nikki Van Horn

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Nikki Van Horn is nominated to be the Braves Baseball Coach of the Week. Photo courtesy of Nikki Van Horn

Credit: Photo courtesy of Nikki Van Horn

Credit: Photo courtesy of Nikki Van Horn

“Coach Nikki is not just developing great ball players,” Katie Zawislak wrote when nominating Van Horn. “She is helping our boys become great young men. She always tells the team that talent can be fleeting, but character is forever. Coach Nikki always makes time to help a kid who is struggling (whether on or off the field). We count ourselves lucky to be part of her baseball family.”

As coach of two 9U baseball teams in Fayette County, Van Horn “not only teaches the fundamentals of the game, but also life lessons as well, and creating and building character,” M. Robinson wrote. “It’s not just about wins. It’s about what can be learned and improved upon. She doesn’t have to yell to get her point across and the boys respect that. They will literally run through a brick wall for her.”

“Nikki has been coaching for over 10 years,” Robinson continued. “She is as dedicated at they come. She’s always the first one there and the last one to leave. Nikki strives to teach not only the fundamentals of baseball, but also what it means to possess good character. It is not just about the wins for her.”

Previous Braves Baseball Coaches of the Week

Week 1: Doug Spence

Week 2: Dustin Rutledge