Coach Tim Sims: A member of the Dixie League Hall of Fame
“Total surprise.” That’s how Tim Sims, coach of Hernando High School and Hernando Youth Baseball, described his reaction to the announcement of his nomination to the Dixie League Hall of Fame. In a fortuitous turn of events for the honored coach, Dixie Majors baseball commissioner Ronnie Jackson called him months before the announcement to inform the Sims of his nomination. After receiving the email with the nomination, Coach Sims did not complete the form. So the day he was actually inducted into the Hall of Fame, he was understandably shocked.
“They caught me totally off guard,” Coach Sims said. As the 57-year-old coach explained, the honor was announced ahead of his side’s 4-3 win over Southland, Louisiana at the 2022 Majors World Series. As Sims spoke with Heather Gillis – an entertainer of the disc who is best friends with her two daughters – in the stands before the match, the officials came out and made the announcement.
“I was half mindful and half no,” Sims said. “Next thing I know I hear my name… I was listening to the background and the person who was going to receive the award. All of a sudden…I’m like wow, this is going to be interesting because it’s very similar to my career. So what prompted his nomination in the veteran coach’s career? The Hernando Youth League has 12 divisions comprising sports such as soccer, baseball, and women’s softball, with dixie boys and majors programs present since the youth league began. A coach of the Dixie League baseball team, Coach Sims has led teams in the pre-majors and majors divisions since 1990.
The new Hall of Fame coach also competed in the league as a seven-year-old to 18-year-old. Totaling 17 state championships throughout his career, he accomplished 3 as a player and another 14 as a coach. . These championships resulted in 17 spots in the Dixie League World Series.
With these appearances, Coach Sims enjoyed a unique level of success in his 11 years as a player and 32 years as a coach in the league. Having won a Dixie League championship as a player in 1983 and another as a coach in 2000, he is the only person in the history of the youth organization to have accomplished such a feat. While he certainly deserves this prestigious honor, Coach Sims was quick to shift the praise and spotlight to those who came before him. He credits the founders of the Hernando Youth League for laying the foundation for the success he was able to achieve.
“There were women and men long before me who provided and started the Hernando Youth League,” Sims said. “Like I said, I can’t leave without thanking Ernie Weaver…my dad Joe Sims, George Harrison, Ernie Chatman, Harry Timmons Senior… [James] Wilkes, Fred Farmer. All of these gentlemen provided opportunities for children and parents to come together and learn about baseball.
The sole inductee for the Class of 2022, Coach Sims follows the five-person Class of 2021: Larry Lankford, Dave McQueen, Johnny Presley, Laurie Parker and Morris Welch. Looking ahead to next season, the Hall of Fame coach is firing his top five from his summer league team and they hope to add to the rich history of baseball in the county. “Hernando County is a baseball community,” Coach Sims said. “We love being a part of it, carrying on the tradition that we have in Hernando youth baseball and baseball in general in our county.”
Photos of the Tim Sims and Hernando Dixie Majors baseball team.