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SPORTS: Pace's Charlie Warner retiring at end of season

PACE  --  A very impressive era is coming to a close for Pace baseball.
Longtime head coach Charlie Warner is retiring at the end of this season..
  
He's left a mark in many ways.
Charlie Warner is on a long run of consistent success.  The Pace baseball job could be his for as long as he wanted

Charlie Warner: "Do I just carry on and carry on, and carry on, like some players do, and get stagnant  in the sport, or do I set a date, and that's what I did.  I told em five years ago that  in five years I was going to retire as baseball coach ".

So at age 55, he's stepping away, after 31 years as a head coach. The first 9 at Jay, the last 22 at Pace.

It's his choice but that doesn't make it any easier....
Charlie Warner: "I really hadn't though about it, other than the fact I told our seniors first day of practice, hey, this is our last first day.  Um, you know, it's just, um (long pause)   it's tough."

It will be tough for Pace too.
He's won almost 82 percent of his games, with five trips to the state Final Four and two state championships.

It's not by accident.
Mark Bagley: "I hear him say things that you just don't pick up on, a lot of times myself.  He'll see things that's going on, that sometimes I just don't see, and that he can relay to the kids really well."

He's known for his cool demeanor, no matter what the situation and is revered by his players, for fairness.
Colby Sweat: "If you don't show effort, if you don't put forth, he's going to get on you.  He's very equal, it doesn't matter who you are, you could be the Addison Russell, or you could be the person nobody knows."

Chandler Burgess: "He's always there for us, whenever we need him.  We can go up to him and ask him anything, and he's honest with us."   

Charlie Warner: "The biggest thing I've learned is you have to be willing to change as a coach, because times are different now, kids are different now, different things motivate em."
 
The wins the championships are special but that's not what means the most to Warner. 
Charlie Warner: "I think the respect that we have, from my peers, from other players.  The desire that kids have to want to be a part of this program.  To hear a coach say, your guys play real hard, do things the right way, that's what I enjoy most."

The respect from his peers is immense.  Pretty much every road game starts with a ceremony honoring the visiting coach.
  
They produce moments that force him to contemplate the reality...
Charlie Warner: "He had a little plaque, and said some nice things on the plaque, they call me out and I went and received the plaque, and as I'm walking back, one of my players, um, (long pause) said, we have to go through this every night coach."

Thinking about the end is clearly tough it confirms how special the journey has been.
Charlie Warner: "I wouldn't trade ti for anything.  It's like the old saying, if you enjoy what you do then you never had a day of work, and this has been a wonderful ride for me for 31 years.". 

 Warner will leave the baseball program but not the school.  He's recently been named Athletic Director replacing the retiring Robert Freeman...