Former USM baseball coach headed to ABCA hall

Former USM baseball coach headed to ABCA hall

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Former University of Southern Mississippi baseball coach Hill Denson has been honored in the past, enshrined in a variety of halls of fame, including two colleges, one junior college and two state shrines for his contributions to the sport over nearly four decades.

Shortly after the New Year, Denson's devotion will be celebrated nationally.

Denson will be among the 11-man Class of 2018 inducted into the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in Indianapolis. The organization made the announcement Tuesday.

The Southern Miss alumnus, who has spent the past 17 years at Belhaven University in Jackson, spent 14 years as the head coach of the Golden Eagles (1984-97). Between the two programs, Denson has compiled a 1,058-774-2 record, including a 468-386-2 mark in Hattiesburg.

Denson's Golden Eagles posted 12 consecutive winning seasons, setting a school record with 42 wins in 1990. A two-time Metro Conference Coach of the Year (1989, 1990), Denson guided Southern Miss to its first two NCAA Regional appearances (1990, 1991). Eight Golden Eagles were named All-America during his tenure, with 35 players signing Major League Baseball contracts.

Denson was a major force in the construction of the chairback/grandstand seating at present-day Taylor Park, and in 1999, the university honored him by naming the diamond, Hill Denson Field at Pete Taylor Park.

He took over at Belhaven in in 2001, and has posted a 590-388 record with the Blazers. Belhaven has won six conference titles, and in 2010, appeared in the NAIA World Series for the first time. From 2006, the Blazers reeled off six, consecutive 40-win seasons.

Previously, Denson had been inducted into the Mississippi Semi-Pro Baseball Hall of Fame (1982), University of Southern Mississippi M-Club (1990), Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame (2008), Belhaven Athletics Hall of Fame (2010) and Jones County Junior College's Bobcats Sports Hall of Fame (2012).

Denson, a Bay Springs native, coached at three high schools, Jackson Callaway, Manhattan and Chamberlain-Hunt Military Academy. He posted a 215-68 record over his prep coaching career.

Denson holds a bachelor's degree from Southern Miss and a master's degree from Mississippi College.

Induction ceremonies for the ABCA's Class of 2018 will take place on Jan. 5, 2018.