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Meet our Staff

Check out The Diamond Mine staff.  All of our staff are excellent instructors and quality people.  Contact The Diamond Mine or connect individually with the instructor of your choice.

Darin Chaplain, Owner

Darin Chaplain opened The Diamond Mine along with Ken McCain in 2004.  Chaplain had an outstanding career as a college and high school coach.  In high school, Chaplain turned around a struggling program and turned them into a consistent winner.  For his efforts, he was named Upper East Tennessee Coach of the Year.  After six years at Johnson County High School, Chaplain took over a college program at Montreat College that was making the transition from a junior college to a four year school.  Chaplain again built the program into a winner.  Montreat won Championships in 1996, 1998, tied in 1999, 2000 and also added a conference tournament championship in 2000.  Chaplain coached numerous all conference, all region and a couple of All Americans while at Montreat.  His 1999 team, reached the top 10 in the country at one point and set a school record with a 48-11 record.  Chaplain was named Coach of the Year in 1996 for the TVAC Conference, the Region and Rawlings Coach of the Year.

As a college player, Chaplain maintained a level of excellence throughout his career.  His freshman year he was 2-3 with a 4.06 ERA but then the following three years were remarkable.  Chaplain went 31-7 over the next 3 years which  included a 10-3 1.99 ERA and 11 complete games in 1983 and All District selection, 10-2 in 1984 and 11-2 in 1985 with 119 2/3 innings which included a complete game victory in the NAIA College World Series. Chaplain was also Co-Captain of the Georgia College teams that played in back to back World Series in 1984 and 1985.  

Chaplain has coached the Diamond Mine showcase team for the past 20 years.  The Diamond Mine has been highly successful of having the players getting an opportunity to play college baseball.  The Showcase team plays in some of the best venues in the southeast and is highly respected by college coaches.  

Chaplain has also established "The Pitching University" which is a highly successful pitching program here at The Diamond Mine.  Many of his students have signed to play at all levels of college baseball and many have played professionally.  Chaplain also has developed our catching program which has been highly successful.

Contact information:


Cell:  828 606-8528

Ken McCain

Ken McCain


Ken was employed by Divaris Property Management Corporation as Operation Director at the Biltmore Square Mall but has recently retired. Ken has been involved in youth leagues and has coached many teams. In 2004, Ken founded the Carolina Blue jay's organization and watched the team progress from there into what has become The Diamond Mine organization.   Ken was instrumental in the start up of The Diamond Mine which is an indoor baseball and softball training center designed to help train future baseball and softball players in the area.  Ken is working hard to build a whole organization of traveling baseball and softball teams that play out of The Diamond Mine. Ken is also one of our instructors specializing in hitting, catching, and fielding. Ken is married to Gwen McCain and the couple resides in Asheville.

Contact Ken:  828 301-2527

Billy Conley

BJ Richmond

BJ Richmond

Pitching/Hitting Instructor

Richmond comes to the Diamond Mine after a 5 year professional career of playing baseball. Richmond during his tenure at the diamond mine has helped coach our showcase team, and has helped successfully teach many kids proper pitching mechanics. Richmond was an accomplished player and has many awards, and honors listed below.

High school

  • 3 time All-conference
  • All-State
  • Made State games
  • East/west game
  • North/South game
  • East coast showcase


  • University of South Carolina under coach Ray Tanner
  • Spartanburg Methodist
  • All Region X
  • All Decade team
  • 2004 7th round draft pick by Los Angeles Dodgers


  • 8 Years hitting instruction
  • Two Years Diamond Mine Showcase team head coach

Clay Thomas

Clay Thomas - Softball Pitching Coach

Contact: Call or Text 828-216-3341


Clay is a native of Asheville, NC, a graduate of A.C. Reynolds High and possesses an Engineering degree from North Carolina State University.

He has been coaching Fastpitch Softball since 2002, a time when local recreation leagues were every bit as strong as travel softball. While winning four consecutive league and post-season championships, he noticed a glaring shortage of quality pitching. With players quickly beginning to migrate to travel Fastpitch at that time, it created a great opportunity to study the game at a higher level and to specifically focus on the pitching aspect even more.

In the 15 plus years he has been honing his teaching skills, Clay has worked with numerous young pitchers to help them reach high levels of achievement. He built the pitching foundation for a dozen successful high school pitchers, including two NC State champions.

Included in achievements by his students are: three college pitchers with two more high schoolers holding scholarship offers; six all-conference performers, all in multiple years; a seventh grader receiving a high school letter for pitching every game for her varsity team; five perfect games in high level travel ball play and the only perfect game in Enka Middle School history; a 19-strikeout performance in a conference championship game against a previously-unbeaten team; a freshman leading the state of North Carolina in strikeouts while finishing 20th in the entire country in strikeouts per inning; a Mission Hospital Athlete of the Week; a Citizen-Times Athlete of the Week; multiple All-state, All-region, and All-WNC recipients; and two pitchers who won more games in a season than their school had won in the three prior years combined.

In addition to his duties as pitching instructor, Clay has also worked on an individual basis with a number of the areas leading hitters. He has been associated in an assistant coaching role with two of Western North Carolina most successful travel organizations and has seen what it takes to get noticed by coaches at the next level. Clay is proud to be associated with the Diamond Mine as Fastpitch Pitching Instructor and works hard with each student to not only teach them the art and science of pitching but to make sure that they learn exactly why they are learning each step of the process and how it all works together to make them a better pitcher and athlete. He encourages each student to dream big and to reach deep to get the most out of her God-given talents. 

Micayla McCoy

Micayla began her collegiate softball career in 2016 signing to play for Georgia Highlands College and continued her remaining years at Brevard College. McCoy set single season and career wins totals, most career starts, first no hitter in program history, was voted to the All-Region 2nd team in 2017 & 2018 while at Georgia Highlands. McCoy completed her college career at Brevard College where she was named to the All-Region second team in both 2018 and 2019.

In 2021, Micayla opened her private Softball instruction business working with youth across WNC. Joining the Diamond Mine in 2022, Micayla now is the head of the softball program at the Diamond Mine and is growing the program to help young ladies reach their full potential and make it to the next level.

Micayla works with players in all aspects of their game. Pitching, Hitting, Fielding and even Speed, Strength and Agility are all within her expertise. She is enthusiastic about watching players develop and is passionate about helping in that process.

Mickey Brantley

Brantley grew up in Catskill, New York, the sixth of eleven children seven boys, four girls. His father was a foundry worker and his mother was a homemaker.[1] He attended Catskill High School. Brantley went on to attend Columbia-Greene Community College, starred in soccer, basketball, and baseball, and still holds several school records. After one year at CGCC, he starred at Coastal Carolina University, and after his senior season, in 1983, was drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the second round (#30 overall). After 3+ successful years in the minors, he made his big-league debut with the Seattle Mariners in 1986.

Brantley played outfield and designated hitter during parts of four seasons, 1986-1989, all for the Seattle Mariners. As a rookie in 1987, he led the Mariner regulars in hitting with a .302 average, and also had 14 home runs and 54 RBI in 106 games. His only full season as a regular came in 1988 when he hit .263 with 15 HR and 56 RBI in 149 games. He spent the 1990-1993 seasons with several teams in the minor leagues, finally finishing his playing career with the Yomiuri Giants in Japan.

Between 1994 and 2004, Brantley was a coach and manager in the minor leagues for the San Francisco Giants and New York Mets organizations. Prior to the 2005 season Brantley was named as the first base coach for the Toronto Blue Jays. After Mike Barnett was dismissed three weeks into the season, Brantley replaced him as the hitting coach. Brantley was released near the end of the 2007 season, as the Jays' offense that year was less productive than expected.

Brantley's son, Michael Brantley, plays for the Houston Astros as an outfielder, and participated in the 2019 World Series. [2] His nephew, Justin Brantley, was a pitcher in the Indians organization from 2014 to 2017.[3] Justin signed a minor league contract with the New York Mets and released in 2017.[4] In the early 1980s, teenage boxer Mike Tyson lived with Brantley and his family.

Mickey has moved to Florida but is available virtually if you would like to schedule with him.

Jackie Mills

My name is Coach Jackie Mills. I am an ex-player with over 15 years of coaching experience giving private and small group softball lessons. I have a strong passion for helping my players improve their game and reach the highest levels they desire to reach. I specifically like to focus on mechanics making sure each of my players has an understanding of the basics and work to master them. I also love to share my hitting knowledge and teach young hitters how to improve. Each lesson is tailored to the individual player and is guaranteed to help them see improvement.

Coaching Experience:

-Private lessons for over 10 years
-Softball coach at all ages and many levels including very successful youth league, and super regional teams.

A lesson with me:

A lesson with me focuses on the player and helping strengthen their mechanics and learning how to use them efficiently. I also love to focus on guiding my players to strengthen their mentality towards what it takes to succeed in softball.

Favorite motivational quote:

Positive attitude plus effort equals performance.

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