The Diamond Life: Ricky Plante’s Years In Baseball


Shelby Plante

A Skipper’s Tale: He’s lived a life rooted in the sport he loves. And for Warrior head baseball coach Ricky Plante, his journey in that baseball life has included heartbreaking injuries that curtailed his own playing days and also several scouting stints for Major League Baseball franchises.

North Atlanta High School is filled and surrounded with star-studded people and personalities, inside the student body and out. Specifically, several of the Warriors’ athletics coaches have not well-known notable backgrounds prior to their coaching tenures with the Dubs. The head of the Warrior’s basketball squad Kerry Sarden was drafted by the Detroit Pistons and had a brief stint in the NBA and overseas. Cross country coach Antonio McKay Jr., son of Olympic gold medalist Antonio McKay Sr., also competed in NCAA Division 1 athletics. However, one of the most impressive and inspiring stories comes from Dubs baseball coach Ricky Plante, who fought through significant adversity to live out a dream career connected to Major League Baseball.  

Plante started out his baseball career in his hometown of Jacksonville, N.C. The child of a single-parent household, it was his mother, Pam Plante, who first kindled his baseball dreams. “From the time I was just a baby, she was putting a baseball in my hand,” he said. “And when I wanted to go out and throw, she was the one that threw me. When I wanted to go hit, she was the one that pitched to me.” 

He was a standout first baseman at his high school, White Oak High School. Plante’s elevated level of play earned him all-state status and he signed to play baseball with D1-level East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C. 

Following a successful first year at East Carolina, Plante moved down to junior college so he would have a quicker route toward draft eligibility. While at his junior college, Plante secured all-American status. However, the night before the baseball draft, Plante sustained a serious injury — a dislocated hip and a groin tear — in the course of a game and the setback severely hurt his draft status. After a long period of recovery, he was gearing up for a spring training tryout with the Arizona Diamondbacks. However, bad luck again came Plante’s way and on the eve of his tryout, he sustained a career-ending neck and back injury in a car crash. His dreams of playing professional baseball ended at age 21.  

But Plante’s baseball dreams would not be denied. He started coaching the sport at Seminole Community College in Sanford. Fla. During his time in Florida he also coached at St. Petersburg College in Clearwater. In the course of all his coaching years he has seen more than 100 of his players go on to play baseball on the progressional level, and among these are MLB all-stars, batting title winners, and Gold Glove winners. 

After many years of coaching, an opportunity arose for him to be a scout for the Boston Red Sox. He eventually wound up scouting for the Atlanta Braves for whom he worked for eight years. 

In 2017, his life in baseball took a turn into high-school coaching with his acceptance of the head coaching position at North Atlanta. Plante said the impetus for the move was so his daughter could play competitive league volleyball for the Atlanta-based A5 volleyball club. He also wanted to spend more time with his son and felt a teaching career would allow for that. “I was always on the road when they were younger so this was going to be my chance to see them more,” Plante said. 

Plante’s daughter, Bria, is now a collegiate-level volleyball player at McNeese State University in Lake Charles, Louisiana. His son, Gunnar, is a sophomore at North Atlanta. Plante said when his son graduates in 2023, he might consider leaving coaching to return to some manner of scouting position in the pros. No matter what he does, Plante says it will be connected to the sport he loves. 

Baseball has always been a game of ups and downs, of balls and strikes, of towering home runs and deflating strikes outs. The best players always fight through all obstacles like true warriors. And that Warrior spirit has certainly been embodied by Warrior baseball coach Ricky Plante.