Less than two weeks after seeing his long-time pitching coach depart for a head coaching position, University of Southern Mississippi baseball coach Scott Berry found a successor.
Berry announced Friday that Christian Ostrander had been hired as an assistant coach, serving as the Golden Eagles’ pitching coach.
Ostrander, who had spent the past two seasons as associate head coach/pitching coach at Louisiana Tech University, fills the vacancy created when Michael Federico left Southern Miss to become the head baseball coach at the University of Louisiana-Monroe.
Federico had spent the past eight years on Berry’s staff at Southern Miss.
“I’m extremely excited to have Coach Ostrander and his family become a part of the Southern Miss family,” Berry said in a statement released Friday afternoon. “His experience at the collegiate level and his proven success to teach and develop young student-athletes both as men and players made this hire easy.
“The history he has in Mississippi, both as a player and as a coach, allows for us to strengthen our networking and recruiting world.”
Prior to his two years in Ruston, Ostrander had been head baseball coach at Jones County Junior College for seven seasons. He spent five seasons as the pitching coach at Arkansas State University and four years at his alma mater, Delta State University.
He also spent two seasons as head coach in the high school ranks at Gulfport High School.
“Christian is a humble man who exhibits tremendous character and integrity, which is important to me and this program,” Berry said. “He has an outstanding work ethic and passion that will radiate to both our current and future players.”
In his two seasons at Louisiana Tech, the Bulldogs went 78-40 and earned a NCAA Regional trip. The team’s 42 wins in 2016 were the most by the program in 28 seasons and the most in Conference USA that season.
In 2016, his pitchers recorded a school-record 496 strikeouts.
In the past two seasons, Tech had four pitchers - Adam Atkins, Braden Bristo, Phllip Diehl and Nate Harris - selected in Major League Baseball’s First-Year Player Draft.
At Ellisville, where he also handled the Bobcats’ pitching staff, Ostrander led JCJC to a 255-109 record from 2009-15.
His Bobcats played in the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges postseason in each of his seven seasons, including four South Division crowns, a pair of state baseball titles (2011, 2014) and a National Junior College Athletic Association World Series appearance (2011). Twice, his teams posted 46 wins and his 2014 Bobcats finished ranked No. 6 in the final NJCAA poll.
Ostrander was pitching coach, recruiting coordinator and camp coordinator at Delta State from 1999-2002. During his time in the Delta, the Statesmen went 189-43, winning four consecutive Gulf South Conference West Division titles.
In his final two seasons, Delta State won South Regional championships and played in the Division II World Series.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Delta State in 1996 and a master’s of education in 1998.
Ostrander has been a member of the American Baseball Coaches Association since 1998.
The Monroe, La., native is married to his wife, Amy, and the couple has two daughters, Caitlin and Allie.
Ostrander said the move back to Mississippi felt natural.
“It is a very humbling, exciting time for me on a personal level with baseball and what I have always thought of this program and Coach Berry, Coach (Chad) Caillet and Coach Federico, when he was here,” Ostrander said in a statement. “I have had a lot of respect for this program with my familiarity because of my time spent down in south Mississippi.
“But more importantly, it has turned into great excitement for my family and that is very important. They feel like this is home and so we are excited to get back.”