The Coastal Plain League has announced Tyler Gillum of the Savannah Bananas as the 2021 CPL Coach of the Year after guiding the Bananas to the CPL Petitt Cup Championship. This is Gillum’s first CPL Coach of the Year honor and his fourth season overall in Savannah.
“I feel honored to receive this award but honestly this is a team award,” said Gillum. “The players, assistant coaches and front office won this award together. It takes everyone to have a successful summer and we had some very hard working people that made it all possible. I want to thank everyone with the Bananas organization for all their time and effort. This award is for all of us.”
In his fourth season as the head coach of the Bananas, Gillum guided the team to the best overall regular season record in the CPL at 36-8 (.818) and a First and Second-Half West Division Championship. This guaranteed the Bananas home field advantage for the entirety of the Petitt Cup Playoffs, helping them defeat the HP-Thomasville HiToms in the Divisional Round to secure a place in the Petitt Cup Championship Series. Here they met up with the two-time defending champion Morehead City Marlins in a best-of-three series – and what a series it was. After going down 4-0 in game one of the series, the Bananas stormed back to win on the road in Morehead City. This was a script the Marlins flipped to stage their own comeback in game two after going down 2-0 early to even up the series headed into the deciding game. It was here the Bananas flexed their muscle with a 13-3 victory in game three to capture the 2021 CPL Petitt Cup Championship.
“This will always be one of my favorite teams,” said Gillum. “They dominated in about every possible way. Millions of views on social media, 100,000 fans entertained, individual stat leaders, team stat leaders and finished the best team in the CPL. They were special!!”
As Gillum noted, the Bananas led the CPL in multiple categories this summer particularly showing their dominance on the mound. The team held a league-leading 2.54 team ERA with the Wilson Tobs coming in next at 4.05. Such a drastic disparity was in large part to a handful of aces including ERA leader Ryan Kennedy (0.73) and strikeout leader Joe Miller (71.) The team was not one dimensional either, also leading the league in team batting average (.291), runs scored (322), walks (236), stolen bases (116 and numerous other categories.
Over the years, Gillum has spoken at many coaching clinics around the country including the American Baseball Coaches Convention in 2016 and 2018. Some of those topics are Infield Play (Developing Dudes on the Dirt), Baserunning (The GreenLightSpecial), and Player Development (The Growth Toolbox). He has also been interviewed on multiple podcasts such as “Calls from the clubhouse” and “Ahead of the Curve”.
He graduated from Latta High School in Oklahoma in 2005, where he was a member of four state championship teams before spending two years at Seminole State Junior College. He finished his playing career at East Central University earning a degree in Kinesiology (Teacher’s Certification) and a Master’s in Education with an emphasis in Sports Administration.