James returns to Pontotoc

By Brandon Speck/NEMS Daily Journal

Casey James wouldn’t have left Nettleton for just any reason.
After one season as head baseball coach of the Tigers though, he got a call from home and had to go back.
Pontotoc approved James as its new baseball coach Monday night, three weeks after Phil Webb stepped down to become a principal in the district.
“Absolutely, going back home is definitely the draw,” said James, 34. “I was absolutely impressed with the people at Nettleton, from the administration to the parents and especially my kids. There’s probably not another job I would have left Nettleton for except for coming back home to Pontotoc.”
Nettleton finished 9-17 last season with a young squad that started five to seven freshmen each game.
James, a Tishomingo County native, has 11 years of experience, 10 as an assistant. His last assistant job lasted two years in Pontotoc with Webb before taking the job in Nettleton.
Webb, 36, was 198-73 with four division titles in nine seasons with the Warriors, guiding them to the Class 4A championship series in his first season, 2004. Before that, he spent five seasons as coach at Smithville, posting a 69-33 record, giving him a final 267-106 mark.
‘A great fit’
“Casey is going be a great fit here,” Webb said. “He works his tail off and knows the boys. I’m very proud to have him on board. Pontotoc is a place I consider home even though I’m not from here. It’s a special place that grows on you. I’m excited for him.”
Pontotoc loses five starters from a team that went 19-8 and hit .383 as a team.
James served as head junior high coach while with the Warriors previously.
“There are a lot of high quality young men coming back who have been coached extremely well by Coach Webb and I hope to continue that,” he said. “I really work hard developing good young men and talk life lessons all the time.”
brandon.speck@journalinc.com