By Gene Phelps
Perry Wilburn, who won his 400th career fastpitch softball game last week as head coach at Mooreville, says the secret to success is really no secret.
He credits the players he has coached the last 18 seasons.
“I’ve been blessed to have great softball players, great athletes,” said the coach, who has a 401-121 career record. “This is a great place to be.”
Wilburn is a Mooreville man. He graduated from MHS and played football and basketball for the Troopers. His basketball coach was Hall of Famer Rex Berryman, who won state titles in three sports – baseball, basketball and softball.
“Just being around him helped me,” said Wilburn, who was an assistant coach when he came home 24 years ago. “I learned something new every day.”
Wilburn’s ultimate goal was to be a head coach and he was awarded the fastpitch job when the program began in 1996.
“I’ve enjoyed it,” he said. “You’ve got to love it. It takes a lot of time, but it’s been fun.”
Record of success
Wilburn’s teams have won two state championships (2003, ’06) 13 division titles and three North state titles during his 18-year tenure. The Lady Troopers have had only one losing season.
“A lot of the credit has to go to all the assistant coaches I’ve had,” he said. “I’ve had some good ones over the years.”
Kevin Long and Lloyd Jackson are Wilburn’s assistants this spring.
This season’s young team – only two seniors in the starting lineup – takes a 24-3 record into the postseason.
Weather permitting, Mooreville plays today and Tuesday in a best-of-three Class 3A playoff series against Water Valley.
Wilburn has two ninth graders in the pitching circle – Hallie Donald and Summer Cryder. His two seniors are second baseman Miah Edmonds and third baseman Brittani Berry.
“This team has played well all year long,” he said. “We’re playing well right now.”
Wilburn has a small window in his quest for 500 victories.
“I’ll coach four more years then retire,” he said. “I have a daughter in the eighth grade who plays (softball). I’d like to finish with her.”