CARROLLTON, Ga. – University West Georgia Athletic Director Daryl Dickey announced Tuesday the retirement of Skip Fite. UWG’s longtime head baseball coach is stepping down after 10 seasons at the helm of the Wolves’ program.
Fite’s retirement comes two days after West Georgia concluded its 2019 season. The Wolves advanced to the semifinal round of the Gulf South Conference (GSC) Championship before falling to Valdosta State in an 11-inning heartbreaker. UWG finished the season with a record of 28-24.
“It is with great admiration for the job that Skip has done that we announce his retirement,” Dickey said. “There is no doubt that Skip was the right man for the job 10 years ago, and he has done fantastic work in building the foundation that we now have with West Georgia baseball.”
Fite was a head coach at the collegiate level for 39 seasons. Prior to his 10-year run at UWG, he coached for 25 seasons at Augusta University and spent four seasons as head coach at Brewton-Parker College. As head coach, he’s amassed more than 950 victories and was elected to the Georgia Dugout Club Hall of Fame in 2014.
In the summer of 2009, Fite took over the UWG baseball program, inheriting a team that had posted a 13-33 record the year before. Under Fite’s guidance, the Wolves’ fortunes turned around as the team posted a winning a record in four of the past five seasons.
“When I left UWG as a graduate assistant under Coach Archie White, my goal in life was to become the head coach at the University of West Georgia,” Fite said. “I was able to live that dream, and I feel privileged and humbled to be a part of this university.”
The highlight year of Fite’s UWG career came in 2016 as UWG posted a 42-16 record, earning the program’s first bid to NCAA Division II tournament in 18 years. At the South Region Tournament in Tampa, Florida, Fite led the Wolves to three wins, including a victory that eliminated the defending national champion and host, the University of Tampa, on the Spartans’ home field.
Fite’s tenure at UWG produced one All-America selection when Stuart Drew was named First Team All-America in 2011. Drew has since become a member of the UWG Athletic Hall of Fame. Beyond his All-America recognition, Drew also was a finalist for the GSC Commissioner’s Trophy following his senior season.
Other UWG players earned national honors and recognition under Fite. Pitcher Jamie Sexton was an All-Region performer who holds the all-time UWG records for appearances, innings pitched, and strikeouts. Shortstop Caleb Lopes, the leader of UWG’s 2016 NCAA Regional team, was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals and spent two seasons playing professionally in the Cardinals organization. Also, outfielders Tyler Hutch (2016) and Drew Eady (2017) were named to the American Baseball Coaches Association Gold Glove Team during their careers at UWG.
Fite’s final UWG squad was led by outfielder Cade Marlowe. A magna cum laude graduate in pre-med biology, Marlowe is a candidate for All-America honors as well as the GSC Commissioner’s Trophy this season, and finished his career as West Georgia’s single-season and career record-holder in stolen bases.
“I would like to thank all the student-athletes for their hard work and sweat equity through the years that has made West Georgia what it is today,” Fite said. “I also want to thank Archie White, Ronnie Burchfield, and Coach Dickey for the opportunities they’ve given me in my life.”
Dickey announced that Fite’s longtime assistant, Jeff Smith, would be named West Georgia’s interim head coach while the search is conducted to fill the permanent vacancy as the program’s head coach.
“Work remains as Skip leaves us, as we need to first and foremost, close out the academic year,” Dickey said. “We also need to continue recruiting and building a foundation for the 2020 season, and Jeff will do well for us in that role.”