Northeast baseball schedules first pitch banquet

By NEMCC Media Relations

BOONEVILLE – Northeast Mississippi Community College head baseball coach Kent Farris has announced that the Tigers annual First Pitch Banquet will be held on Monday, January 16 in the Claude Wright Room on the second floor of the Haney Union on the Booneville campus.

Northeast’s First Pitch banquet has served as a kickoff for the baseball season and the 2012 version is no different with Northeast bringing ‘Coach Rock’ to Booneville.

University of Memphis head baseball coach Daron Schoenrock will serve as the guest speaker for the night with festivities kicking off at 7 p.m.

Former Mississippi State quarterback and radio personality Matt Wyatt makes his return to Booneville as well when the former Northeast Sports Information Director returns to emcee the event.

Schoenrock joins an illustrious cast of guest speakers at the ‘First Pitch’ banquet that have included Kent Willis, Atlanta Braves Minor League Pitching Coordinator (2007), former Mississippi State University Head Baseball Coach Ron Polk (2008), University of Mississippi head baseball coach Mike Bianco (2009) and University of Southern Mississippi head baseball coach Scott Berry (2010) and Mississippi State University head baseball coach John Cohen in 2011.

During the 2011 season, Schoenrock led the Memphis Tigers to a 30-27 mark and a break-even mark in Conference-USA play with a 12-12 showing. During the 2011 Conference-USA Baseball Championship held at Trustmark Park in Pearl, Schoenrock helped lead the Tigers to a win over the University of Alabama-Birmingham.

However, FedExPark has been where Schoenrock has seen his most success posting a 21-13 mark at home during the 2011 season. In 2011, Memphis pieced together a six-game win streak that included victories over Alcorn State, the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) and the University of Southern Mississippi that saw Memphis outscore the opposition 76-28.

In 2012, Schoenrock will enter his eighth season at the helm of the Memphis baseball program and has revitalized the program since he was hired in 2004.

In less than five seasons with the Tigers, Schoenrock was able to return the Memphis baseball team to the NCAA Tournament – snapping a 13-year postseason hiatus. During the 2007 year, Memphis posted its most wins since the 1994 season with a 36-27 record and recorded its first back-to-back winning seasons since 1994-1995.

Schoenrock has not only accomplished success on the field but off the diamond as well with numerous Tiger baseball players being drafted in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft – including Northeast’s own Phillip Chapman.

Schoenrock has also instilled in his players the importance of an education and in the fall of 2010, the Tigers recorded a program-high 3.278 grade point average.

When not busy molding his players, Schoenrock donates his time to the community by visiting children at the Ronald McDonald House, Target House and St. Jude every year since he was first hired at Memphis. In 2006, Schoenrock also started helping with Streets Ministries by preparing a meal and interacting with inner city youth. In 2008, Memphis visited Southaven’s Field of Dreams where the Tigers held a Meet-and-Greet and donated gifts to the league that serves special-needs children of the Mid-South.

Prior to coming to Memphis, Schoenrock was a member of Ron Polk’s Mississippi State University baseball team and crafted the likes of Jonathan Papelbon and Paul Maholm during his time with the Bulldog pitchers.

Schoenrock has also clocked time at the University of Georgia, the University of Kentucky and at Birmingham Southern University where he helped lead the Panthers to the 1995 NAIA World Series as well as Tennessee Tech University and Murray State University as a graduate assistant. Schoenrock has also spent time with the Chicago White Sox’s affiliate in the Appalachian League.

Schoenrock has found success wherever the veteran coach has been even during his first head-coaching job. Schoenrock turned around the Railsplitters of Lincoln Memorial University and guided them to their first postseason appearance in five years.

Wyatt served a two-year stint as Northeast’s Sports Information Director from 2006-08 before leaving to host the drive-time sports talk show “The Sports Drive” on Miss 98 (97.5 FM) Monday-Fridays from 6-8 p.m.

Wyatt is currently the color analyst for Mississippi State University football games and also co-hosts one of the most popular radio talk shows in the north Mississippi area where he squares off with Richard Cross daily from 4-6 p.m. each Monday-Friday on Head-to-Head Radio that can be heard across the Magnolia State.

While at Mississippi State from 1995-2000, Wyatt was a member of the football team and played quarterback for coach Jackie Sherrill and the Mississippi State Bulldogs.

After redshirting during the ’95 season, Wyatt played in 10 games for the Bulldogs in 1996 as a redshirt freshman, earning a starting spot in games played against South Carolina and Auburn.

During his sophomore season at quarterback, Wyatt earned a starting position and helped MSU to a seven-win season. During the 1998 and 1999 seasons, Wyatt played in the Southeastern Conference Championship Game in Atlanta, Ga. (vs. Tennessee, 1998), in the Cotton Bowl(vs. Texas, 1998), led the largest fourth quarter comeback in MSU football history (vs. Auburn, 1999) and was part of a team that won ten games capped by a victory over Clemson in the Peach Bowl during the1999 season.

Wyatt graduated from Mississippi State in May 2000 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Sports Communication.

Wyatt worked as a sports reporter for WTVA Television in Tupelo, Miss. from 2001-2003. In June of 2003, he accepted a position with WTVA as weekend sports anchor and reporter before joining the Northeast family in 2006.

Advance tickets to the First Pitch Banquet are $20 and can be bought from any Northeast baseball player or Diamond Girl. Tickets the day of the event will be $25 at the door.

For more information about Northeast’s First Pitch Banquet, contact Northeast head baseball coach Kent Farris at 662-720-7309 or email wkfarris@nemcc.edu