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Longtime Ozark coach retires

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Mike Essick, the Ozark School District's longtime baseball coach, signaled his retirement.

The Ozark Board of Education yesterday approved his retirement plans, which become effective June 30, according to a news release. Essick led the Ozark High School Tigers to a 465-223 record, with state championship wins in 2004 and 2008.

“Coach Essick helped set the standard for baseball in southwest Missouri over the last 26 years,” said Yancey Little, Ozark High School athletics and activities director, in the release. “Coach Essick has a lineage of players and assistant coaches who have become very successful within the sport of baseball and his college signees are too numerous to count.”

Essick last year was inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame, following two Coach of the Year honors in 2004, according to the release. He also entered the Missouri High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2014 and the College of the Ozarks Sports Hall of Fame in 2003.

The district hired Spokane R-7 School District head baseball coach Justin Sundlie to succeed Essick after a search was conducted, said Ozark School District spokesperson Casey Owens. An alumnus of Ozark School District, Sundlie started his coaching career in 2006. He starts July 1 in Ozark.

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