With the close of the 2019 season, Grove Head Baseball Coach Donny Pennington made a tough decision.
At the close of the baseball banquet on Thursday, May 23, Pennington announced his resignation to the program.
"I'm sure most of you have heard, but this is going to be my last season with you guys. I've decided to resign," said Pennington. "I can tell you this, It's the hardest decision I've ever made in my life. I appreciate each and every one of you."
The primary reason that Pennington chose to step away from the program was to be with his family.
"I've missed a lot of my own family, I've missed my daughter's soccer, I've missed my daughter's wrestling, my son is playing baseball," said Pennington. "I am ready to spend more time with my family and be able to see my children participate in other activities."
Pennington has four children, two of whom are playing college sports. Braxton plays baseball at Coffeyville Community College in Kansas and Haven wrestles at Presbyterian College in South Carolina.
Overall, this was a decision the Penningtons made as a family and their next step is just to enjoy life.
But Pennington won't be leaving the diamond altogether. Pennington will still coach the Northeast Prospects, a summer team for the Grove baseball program. The Prospects have teams for ages 13 and up.
The team boasts four signings this spring, Chat Hayes, Toby Cearley, and Cade Coble of Grove and Charlie Moore of McDonald County. In 2018 the team produced six college signees.
Pennington has enjoyed a transformative four-year career with the Grove Ridgerunners. The team has a winning record of 88-44 during his tenure, including the 2019 season's 32-8 record. The Ridgerunners earned three Bi-District titles, one District title, two Regional Titles and two appearances at the State Tournament under Pennington.
Additionally, the program has produced an All-stater, seven All-District players, five All-Region players and seven collegiate players.
"I have been able to change a culture not only in baseball, but Grove Alternative Center as well. We have graduated more students than ever before and have built a proven track record of success. We have went from a program that was on probation to a top rated program," said Pennington.
Pennington is very proud of the team and how they have placed at Academic All-State twice.
"What I am most proud of is that we placed third at Academic All-State with the twenty-two guys who are on the roster. [We placed] with a 3.35 GPA," said Pennington.
Pennington is very thankful for his time in Grove.
"Grove is a great place and I wish everyone the best," said Pennington.