By Gene Phelps
FULTON – Steve Kerr first stepped on the baseball field at Fulton City Park four years ago as coach of the Smithville Seminoles.
“We didn’t have a field to play on because of the (April 2011) tornado,” Kerr said. “Actually we came over here to Fulton the night before our first game, just to get on a field.”
Next season, Kerr will work there as coach of Itawamba AHS, where he replaces 30-year Indians coach Brian Long.
“I’m friends with Coach Long. I have a lot of respect for the program he ran,” Kerr said, moments before being officially introduced Wednesday as Long’s replacement. “He had a pretty good system here. I’m going try some things with my system. I have some big shoes to fill.”
Kerr directed the 2014 Seminoles to an MHSAA Class 1A state championship. This season Smithville lost in the 1A finals at Trustmark Park in Pearl.
IAHS finished 2015 with a 20-12 record and lost in the state quarterfinals.
“They’ve lost a lot of good players here, but when you have a good program, it’s just the next man up. This program’s already established,” Kerr said.
“You don’t have to teach people in Fulton how to win, they already know … in all their sports.”
The right Mann
The school also announced the hiring of former Houston coach Jeffrey Mann as fastpitch and slowpitch softball coach. He replaced Rodney Moore.
Mann, who grew up in Dorsey and Mooreville, is excited about his new challenge.
Houston made the playoffs in fastpitch and slowpitch both seasons he was head coach.
“This is a good program,” he said.
“I have some good memories from Houston and I hated to leave, but I’m excited about this new opportunity.”