Willie James had an 8-year professional playing career. Drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the 2002 First-Year Player Draft, Willie spent five seasons in the Braves organization. Willie made his professional debut with the Braves affiliate in the Gulf Coast rookie League in 2002. He also competed for the ’03 South Atlantic League Champion Rome Braves, ’04 Myrtle Beach Pelicans, ’05 Myrtle Beach Pelicans and ‘06 Mississippi Braves Organization.
Willie continued his playing career after being released by the Atlanta Braves in 2006 by signing to play for the Quebec Capitales. Willie spent four seasons playing independent baseball with the likes of the ’06 American Association League Champion Quebec Capitales, ’07 Sioux City Explorers, Grays, Bradenton Juice, ’08 Fort Worth Cats, El Paso Dibalos, and ’09 United League Champion Amarillo Dillas.
Majority of the games played in the minor leagues by Willie were spent playing Second base, Shortstop and third base. Willie was a flashy infielder with above average speed and arm.
Willie, a native of Moreno Valley, CA., attended Arizona Western Community College and received a Scholarship to attend and play baseball at Purdue University. As a Freshman with the Matadors in 2000, Willie batted .355 in 61 games and he led the team with 35 stolen bases. Willie was named as the teams Rookie of the year and was selected to the conference second team all ACCAC as a second baseman losing out to all conference first team Freshman second baseman and former MLB player Scott Hariston Jr. .
Willie continued his collegiate career playing for Former Arizona State University coach Doug Schrieber and the Purdue University Boilermakers. Willie was the starting Shortstop and thrived in the one year that he attended the University. Willie decided to forgo his senior year and pursue his dream of playing Professional baseball when he signed to play for the Atlanta Braves in 2002.
Willie retired from playing in 2009 and began coaching. Willie has been involved in the development of baseball in the Myrtle Beach area since 2005 and has touched the lives of many baseball players in his 13-year coaching career. Willie has been instrumental in helping many of the players in the area reach their potential and making their dreams of playing college baseball a reality.
Carolina Elite Sports and the Carolina Rays mission statement was born through Willie’s vision of seeing each player create their own opportunities in the game of baseball through the hard-work and dedication each player puts in to reach their goals.
-PREPARATION LEADS TO SUCCESS!