November 3, 2009 4:03:00 PM
Starkville Academy hopes Shane Bazzell can bring some of his state championship magic to its baseball program.
Bazzell, who played baseball at New Hope High School from 1993-98 and helped the Trojans win state titles in 1996 and ''98, was named Monday the new head baseball coach at Starkville Academy.
"He played at one of the best high school programs in the state and has obviously learned the game," Starkville Academy Athletic Director Glenn Schmidt said. "He has a passion for baseball."
Bazzell replaces Justin Brewer, who went 14-16 last season as the school''s baseball coach. Brewer resigned last week to take a job as an assistant baseball coach at Copiah-Lincoln Community College.
Being able to coach the Volunteers and to continue to pursue a secondary degree at East Mississippi C.C. attracted Bazzell to the job.
"It was just a good fit," Bazzell said. "It''s going to give me great experience."
Bazzell is excited and anxious to begin his first season as a high school coach. Although he doesn''t officially take over until the second semester begins in January, he plans to meet with the players and parents at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday.
"We''ll meet and go on from there," Bazzell said. "I''m looking forward to getting to know the kids and them getting to know me. I''m ready to roll."
Bazzell played nine seasons of professional baseball, including seven in the Oakland Athletics organization and two more with the Texas Rangers. He coached at Heritage Academy one year during the summer, worked with a Under-17 travel team in the summer, and has given youth private lessons for four years.
"He''s got a sincere desire to work with young people and carry out his baseball dreams," Schmidt said. "He''s just a very professional young man and very qualified for this job."
Schmidt said there was much interest in the position, but Bazzell''s pitching reputation always stood out.
Bazzell was a member of the 1996 New Hope High team that went 43-0 and won a state title. He led the Trojans in victories the next two seasons with 12 in ''97 and 17 in ''98. His 17-1 season in ''98 is still believed to hold the record for victories in a single season at the school.