By: Amanda Dronzek
In 21 years, Coach and staff member Robert Downey has shaped the EGHS Avengers baseball team into a successful program that has sustained said success for over a decade. I
n 1994, Downey began his coaching career. He began in North Kingstown, coaching JV football, baseball, and basketball.
“One of my professional goals was to run my own baseball program and the job opened up my first year teaching here at EGHS,” Downey remarked.
Playing in high school and college encouraged Downey to pursue his passion for the game. Being a player was one thing, but being a coach was an entirely different world filled with opportunities to expand his horizons, drawing him in instantly.
In all his years of coaching, Downey reminisces over competing at McCoy Stadium (the previous home of the Pawtucket Red Sox) in the 2006 finals with his ballclub. Although the team fell one game short of the championship title, Downey says he will cherish that moment forever.
“Hopefully, ending this year with a state title will be the best memory,” he said.
The following year, the Avengers moved up to Division I. From the beginning one of Downey’s ambitions was to compete in Division I within the first 10 years he was instated as coach. ¨We had a great run and made it a couple of final fours and were ranked as high as number 6 in the state,” stated Downey.
Since then, times have changed as they do for all high school sports. The team has still held their ground as a well-rounded baseball program, with a strong roster and ample talent. However, they are yet to clinch a state title.
“Baseball is such a game of failure and if you hop on every mistake, you won’t last very long in this game. I am extremely competitive and nobody wants to win more than me,” he explained.
Downey is shooting for a championship in his last year with EG, but more importantly treasures the relationships he’s made with his team. Two years ago, Downey lost his son. When reflecting on the support he received from the community, he noted how much solace his beloved baseball team gave him. Moments like those will remain with Downey as he takes his coaching career to Coventry.
In the spring, Downey will continue coaching his son, Logan. Being able to coach his son at a varsity level is what Downey claims, “something I would never be able to get back.” The Avengers were and will always be a home to Coach Downey, as his irreplaceable spirit will be missed. At the end of the day even Downey tells his boys, “There is only one kid I put ahead of the team.” Good luck, and thank you for all you’ve done for EG.