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Student Life
Athletics

Lakeview Academy to dedicate remodeled, state-of-the-art baseball field to veteran coach

Deuce Roark has built a legacy at Lakeview Academy. And now the school will enshrine that legacy in a facility worthy of the highest praise.
 
On March 19 at 5:30 pm, Lakeview will dedicate its remodeled baseball field in Roark’s name. The ceremony will take place before the Lions face Riverside Preparatory Academy at 6 p.m. in Gainesville. After 25 years of coaching, which includes a state championship, Roark and his Lions will enjoy a home field that is now among the best in the state. Hotdog Ninja will be on hand with 250 free hotdogs sponsored by the Lakeview Athletic Club. 
“Our new baseball field is as good as there is to play on anywhere,” Roark said. “It’s going to be an honor for our team to play out there, and it’s incredible for me to see yet another chapter in this program and this school. Being at Lakeview has been really fulfilling for my life. And when I started here back in 1999, I could not have imagined what it now means to me and my family.”
 
Lakeview families, alumni, and fans return those sentiments to Roark. And many feel the field redevelopment and naming is a fitting honor for a man who’s meant much to Lions’ athletics – both as coach and athletic director (a role he’s served since 2004).
 
“This is long overdue; coach has been there longer than anyone, and he’s meant so much to the school. It’s bigger than baseball. He molds boys into men, and I still use the lessons he taught me today,” said Lakeview alumni Trey Wood, who played on Roark’s 2004 GHSA Class A state championship team, which defeated Athens Academy in the title series. “He’s a great mentor, and it’s been wonderful to see people have a vision for what this field could be and put it into action.”
 
A group of Lakeview families, sparked by the determination, grit and leadership of a fellow Lakeview parent, delivered on the vision of a superior baseball facility. 
 
“We had a parent who had a vision for how our baseball field could be better.  To see the group of families he pulled together work with such passion, vision, and desire to make that vision a reality is almost dream-like,” Roark said. “So many parents and players have had an impact on this program and the school. I’m in awe of what they’ve done and am privileged to have been involved with so many wonderful people.”
 
Ramsey Hill, a professional contractor who is also a Lakeview Academy alumni and former Lions baseball player has helped with the project, and just in time for Lakeview’s 32nd overall season and the 20th anniversary of the program’s state championship.
 
The results are certainly celebration-worthy for fans and players alike. For spectators, there is now unhindered views of play.
 
Gone is the chain-link fence behind home plate, replaced by 40-foot high, low-visibility safety netting and a brick knee wall. Meanwhile, a state-of-the-art, wireless scoreboard also adorns the outfield.
 
Perhaps most impressive, however, are the changes made to field itself.
 
Under advisement from the groundskeeper of a major Division I program and direction from the anonymous donor; Lakeview rebuilt and re-engineered its pitching mound to consistently maintain the proper shape and size. The Lions also replaced their old infield dirt with a much smoother and consistent, pro-grade “infield mix,” the same mix used by the Atlanta Braves at Truist Park. The pro-grade mix was also applied to the warning track, and playing space was added to the backstop behind home plate.
 
“I was a part of the first group of baseball players in 1992 at Lakeview and played every year until I graduated,” said Matt Dubnik, Class of 1999 and Chairman of the Lakeview Athletic Club.  “When we first started, we had to pick up rocks on the field every day just so we could play. Our field was not much to speak of, so to watch the growth in the program and the enhancement to the current field is amazing.”
 
Other Roark Field upgrades include:
  • New windscreens that are logoed on the outfield wall, which are the school’s primary color (navy blue)
  • A new fence topper on the outfield wall and foul poles which are one of the school’s secondary colors (orange)
  • A new, large storage building to keep maintenance equipment and training equipment.
These changes represent phase I of the remodel process. A new press box, concession stand, and coaches’ offices are the next upgrade this group has set their site upon completing with a goal of having the new building in place for the 2025 season.
 
“What I am most proud of is how the Lakeview family has supported this project,” continued Dubnik.  “Families are making a difference for current and future players. Student athletes are being set up for success because they have people who are willing to support them and provide the resources they need to succeed. As a parent with current students at Lakeview, I’m humbled to be a part and thrilled to see this project help continue the transformation of the Lakeview campus and Lakeview Athletics.”
 
Roark looks forward to every season, but it’s safe to say that the spring of 2024 carries added meaning, as the Lions prepare to embark on their second campaign in Georgia Independent Schools Association play.
 
“I’m really in awe of what the school and a group of our parents have accomplished,” Roark said. “I came here a lot of years ago just wanting to teach and coach kids, and it’s been everything I’ve ever wanted and more.”
 
The Lions, meanwhile, want the coach to enjoy his new diamond for as long as possible.
 
“I remember when I was in eighth grade and he came here, and we were just stunned and happy he made that move from Gainesville High [where Roark was an assistant as well as a standout player years prior],” Wood said. “Now I tell him that he has to stay at Lakeview least nine more years so he can coach my boys. And with this new field, why not? It gives me goosebumps just driving past it every day.”
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Lakeview Academy is a private, coeducational day school for students in preschool through 12th grade, located in Gainesville, GA minutes off I-985/Hwy 365.
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