The Ozark Tigers will head into their next baseball season with a new skipper in the dugout.
Longtime baseball coach Mike Essick had his retirement accepted by the Ozark Board of Education on Tuesday. Essick joined the district as a teacher and coach in 1993.
“Coach Essick helped set the standard for baseball in southwest Missouri over the last 26 years,” Ozark High School Athletics and Activities Director Yancey Little said in a statement. “Coach Essick has a lineage of players and assistant coaches who have become very successful within the sport of baseball and his college signees are too numerous to count.”
In this career, Essick had an overall record of 465-223. He led the Tigers to state championships in 2004 and 2008, along with a third place finish in 2002 and fourth in 2011.
Essick’s career has earned him significant recognition and awards. In 2019, he was inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame. He has been inducted into the Missouri High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame and the College of the Ozarks Sports Hall of Fame.
Essick was named Coach of the Year twice.
Essick will be replaced by Ozark alumnus Justin Sundlie. Sundlie began his career in Texas and joined the Spokane School District in 2019.
“It’s great to be back in Ozark,” said Sundlie. “I’m very grateful and excited for the opportunity to be a part of Ozark’s strong tradition of academics and athletics.”