Shane Kelly to coach alma mater at Petal

PETAL, MS (WDAM) - Just a month following Larry Watkins retirement from Petal baseball after 38 years of heading the program, Shane Kelly takes the reins of the Panther program.

Kelly is an apprentice of Watkins, coaching under him since 2012 and playing for him as a high school student. Kelly was a part of Petal's 1995 state championship team,

After graduating from Petal in 1996, Kelly played baseball for Mississippi State and was eventually drafted by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

The longtime Petal Panther is eager to begin coaching his alma mater.

"Not many players get a chance to play at their program and have the opportunity to come back and coach at that program and be the head coach," Kelly said. "This has always been a dream of mine since I got into coaching in 2001. I've worked very hard to get where I'm at and I'm very thankful to the administration seeing my vision for the program and hiring me to do this job."