Remembering Coach Robbie Surratt - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

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Remembering Coach Robbie Surratt

Monday evening, legendary baseball coach Robbie Surratt of Lindale was laid to rest.

Coach Surratt passed away Friday after complications from heart surgery.

Those who played for and worked with him say he was much more than a coach.

"As long as I can remember baseball was Coach Surratt and Coach Surratt was baseball in Lindale," former player Jeff Williford said.

For 20 years, Robbie Surratt coached Lindale Eagles. When they graduated, he coached their kids.

"We had a great friendship that lasted 17, 18 years," principal and former coach Jamie Holder said. "We're hurting right now. We know he's in a better place but this community is going to miss Robbie Surratt."

Those who worked with Coach Surratt said he directed generations of young men to be great ball players but even better human beings.

"He put a lot of time and sweat, tears and blood into this school," athletic director Mike Meador said. 

"When I was there, we weren't the best, we had a lot to overcome," Jeff Williford said. "We didn't have the most talent but he continued to work with us. If you were 0-for-a-month, 0-for-50 batting, he still cared for you. He still encouraged you."

"That is one thing that will stick out in my mind about Robbie Surratt," Principal Holder said. "It's his ability to give kids a second chance."

By hand, Coach Surratt helped to transform an empty cow pasture into the Eagle's baseball field. In February, one year after his retirement, Robbie Surratt Field was dedicated.

"He spent two decades building the baseball program at Lindale High School," Holder said. "The condition of that field, it's an unbelievable playing field and that's due to Robbie Surratt."

"He was there all summer long, all spring long," Meador added. "Him and his wife Betsy, they poured everything they had into that baseball field and those baseball teams."

Former players and co-workers say they are proud that future Eagles will look at Robbie Surratt Field and come to know the man who built it.

"They can see his name and maybe ask, 'What's this about? Who is he?'" Jeff said."Someone can tell them he was a coach here for a long time, he meant so much. More than baseball."
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