March 3, 2015
Gantt Inducted into N.C. American Legion 2014 Baseball Hall of Fame
Catawba College’s Head Baseball Coach Jim Gantt ’89 was honored by the N.C. American Legion on March 1st when he was one of four men inducted into that organization’s 2014 Baseball Hall of Fame. Gantt serves as head coach of the Post 342’s team and is a former Legion ball player.
The induction ceremony was part of a Hall of Fame Banquet held at the Harold B. Jarrett American Legion Post in Salisbury featuring guest speaker Bobby Richardson, a former New York Yankee. Also inducted with Gantt were Grant D. Jarman, an American Legion Baseball veteran associated with Post 39 baseball for more than 45 years; Willie Gillispie, one of the first African-American players in state history to play American Legion baseball for Post 23 in 1964; and Elmo Hill, also one of the first African-American players in N.C. history to play for Post 23 and to go on to sign his first professional baseball contract the month after his 1964 Legion season ended.
Gantt, who holds an overall win-loss record of 393-155 as head coach of the Post 342 teams, has lead his teams to qualify for the state American Legion tournament in 2002, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2011. In 2002 and 2009, Rowan County also won the Area 3 Championship, and the 2009 team went on to win the Southeast Regional Championship. As competitors in the 2009 American Legion World Series, Gantt’s team finished third among eight teams contending for the national title.
Known for his “old school” coaching style, Gantt became the head coach of the Catawba College baseball program in the summer of 1996. In 2012, Gantt was named the ABCA Southeast Region Coach of the Year and the North Carolina Amateur Coach of the Year as he guided the team to the College World Series where Catawba finished fourth in the nation. Under Gantt, Catawba has posted 15 straight 30+ win seasons, including six 40-win seasons since 2004. Catawba has made eight appearances in NCAA II Regional play. He has a career record of 636-331. Gantt was honored as South Atlantic Conference Coach of the Year for the seventh time in 2014 after guiding Catawba to both the SAC regular season and tournament titles.
He graduated from Catawba in May, 1989 with a bachelor’s degree in sports management. He had an outstanding four-year career as a player for the Indians. As a third baseman, he was an all-conference performer and helped to Catawba to the 1988 Carolinas Conference championship and to the NAIA District 26 Tournament. Gantt was an all-conference player at Newton-Conover (NC) High School before graduating in 1984.
Gantt resides in Salisbury with wife Adrian and daughter Blakley.
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