By Brandon Speck/NEMS Daily Journal
Jerry Long is old school. He doesn’t own a cell phone and doesn’t need one to do what he does best, coach baseball.
The Tishomingo County baseball coach is taking his last strides up and down the Braves dugout, calling it a career after 32 seasons of coaching.
He has spent 29 of those years as a head coach and will continue to coach slowpitch softball and teach.
“I’m getting older. I’m kind of a dinosaur,” Long said. “It’s just kind of something I thought maybe it was time to do.”
He has made plenty of calls to the bullpen without a phone. And his record says most of those calls were at the right time. His overall baseball record is 662-319. He is 392-190 as coach of the Lady Braves.
He’s making one last playoff run, starting with Thursday’s 5-3 loss to Lafayette in Game 1 of a MHSAA Class 4A best-of-three play-in series.
“You can’t be as successful as we have and not have good players,” Long said. “I’ve had a lot of good players. I’ve gotten to do a lot of good things, go see a lot of places and coach against good coaches across the state. Everything has just been good about it.”
Long’s only other coaching stop came at Iuka -– technically the same school before county consolidation in 1992. There he led his team to the 1989 Class 2A state championship before opening the doors of the Braves’ program.
Tupelo Christian football coach and assistant baseball coach Shaune Holiday was on that team and later served as Long’s assistant coach at Tishomingo.
“When I heard he was going to retire, I was hurt,” Holiday said. “It’s like seeing a legend leave. In North Mississippi in my opinion, he’s been one of the legendary coaches. There are few of them left, Brian Long (Itawamba AHS) and Johnny Bolen (Saltillo). When you see guys like that retire, the game changes a little bit, means a little different to you.”