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Milestone latest accomplishment for Vashaw

Photo: Brian Kamer North Gwinnett head baseball coach Frank Vashaw during a recent game.

Photo: Brian Kamer North Gwinnett head baseball coach Frank Vashaw during a recent game.

As long as Frank Vashaw has been coaching high school baseball, milestones have come and gone.

But one such such milestone occurred with little fanfare when the North Gwinnett coach reached the 400th victory in his 20th season as a head coach with the Bulldogs' 3-0 win over Collins Hill on March 19.

"I guess a lot of it is longevity," said Vashaw, whose Bulldogs (13-3) have since won six more games and currently stand atop the Region 7-AAAAA standings with a 7-1 record and carry a No. 9 ranking in the ga.prepcountry.com state coaches poll. "I'm just very lucky to have had a lot of good players and a lot of good assistant coaches over the years."

Indeed, Vashaw, whose overall record of 406-207 includes a mark of 135-67 at North over the past seven seasons after spending his first 13 seasons at Cook and Coffee in south Georgia, has had plenty of both.

He's also had his share of top-notch talent along the way.

"It's been fun to see the kids improve from year to year," said Vashaw, whose career includes 16 state playoff appearances, including all six of his seasons so far at North, as well as the 2000 Class AA state championship at Cook. "We've been able to put everything together. ... It's been a lot of kids more worried about making decisions to help the team than their own accolades."

Vashaw's coaching tree has even more branches, with no fewer than 10 current head coaches in the state of Georgia having served as assistants to him, including former North assistants Jason Johnson (Mountain View), Chad Longe (Lanier) and Jonathan Wyman (Norcross) and former Cook assistant Reggie Ingram (Shiloh) now coaching in Gwinnett County.

"I learned a lot as a player about coaching," Wyman said a day before his Blue Devils began a home-and-home series with North this past week. "The biggest thing that I got from Frank was (in) my first two years. I was that young kid fresh out of college who was still holding onto the dream that I'm still a player. And he sat me down one day and told me how much he appreciated the work ethic and intensity, but you've got to give up that dream of being a player and now, you've got to attack it from a coaching standpoint. Ever since we had that conversation, it was like this whole new world opened up for me.

"Even to this day, he's a guy who's my first phone call any time something came up. I'm like, 'Dude, how'd you handle this?' ... He set me on the path, and he has done a phenomenal job grooming all of his assistant coaches."