When Brooks Shumake became the baseball head coach at Sumter High School beginning with the 1998 season, it was his first time leading a program at any level.
Of course, Shumake had a strong background in baseball. He was a standout performer on Hartsville High's 1981 4A state championship team that went undefeated, was a first team All-Atlantic Coast Conference performer at Clemson, was a fifth-round draft pick in the Major League Baseball draft and played four seasons of minor league baseball.
He quickly found out though he had a steep learning curve.
"When I first got into coaching, I thought with my pedigree that would help me," Shumake said. "I'd played pro ball and I had had played every position you could play. One thing I quickly found out though was there were a lot of other people who had done the same thing. They were outstanding coaches in this state who helped me along."
And Shumake has learned on the job pretty well. After 20 years as a high school head coach -- 18 of them at Sumter -- Shumake has a 391-190 career win-loss record and three 4A state titles with the Gamecocks -- 2006, '11 and '14. Because of that achievement, Shumake has chosen to be inducted into the Sumter Sports Hall of Fame.
Shumake will be inducted along with Lisa Johnson Ard, Connie Ballard, the late Buddy Hodge, Garon Jackson, Stacy Martin, and Travis Yates on Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club of Sumter located at 630 South Sumter Street.
Tickets are $25 a person for the event and can be purchased at the Boys & Girls Club. The Boys and Girls Club offices are open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, call Jean Ford at (803) 775-5006.
"When you first get started, of course, you want to do well," Shumake said. "I didn't start off thinking about winning a lot of state championships though. You're as green as grass as a head coach and you're just trying to figure out how to lead a program and that kids do the right things.
"It means a lot of people in a program having a common goal," he added. "Through us doing that, we achieved success. It certainly isn't one person."
The '11 team finished ranked 13th nationally by USA Today and the '14 team was ranked 12th. Along with the state championship teams, Shumake has led the Gamecocks to a lower state finals appearance, three lower state semifinal appearances, seven district championships and eight region titles. His career record with Sumter is 358-168.
"Of course, you've got to have players to achieve all of that," he said. Shumake has had nine players who played for him at SHS be drafted and another who signed as a free agent. One of them, Jordan Montgomery, is currently a pitcher for the New York Yankees.