HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - Joe Hartfield, longtime head baseball coach at Hattiesburg High School, will retire at the end of 2020, the school district announced Friday.
Hartfield has been at the helm of the program for more than 14 years. In that time, he led the Tigers to a class 5A state crown in 2018 and was recognized as State Coach of the Year in 2019.
“Due to personal and family health issues, I know it is time to move onto the next chapter of my life,” said Hartfield.
Hartfield was named head coach of the HHS baseball program in 2006, just after the program won its fifth state title.
“Since then, it has been a personal challenge of mine to keep the baseball program among the elite programs in the state, a standard set before me by Coach Jimmy Pierce and Coach Larry Knight,” said Hartfield.
Hartfield racked up more than 400 wins in his career as head coach, despite undergoing spine surgery in 2016 that threatened to cut his career short.
Hattiesburg Public School District Superintendent Dr. Robert Williams and Athletic Director Tony Vance spoke about Hartfield’s character and ability to lead and set a strong example for his players.
“I’ve had the opportunity to work with Coach Hartfield since 2007, and it has truly been a pleasure,” said Williams. “He is always willing to lend a helping hand anywhere that was needed and always has been a great role model for his students on and off the field.”
“He will be greatly missed, and his legacy speaks for itself. He is a Hall of Famer in my book, and I’m proud and fortunate just to have been his colleague but to have been able to call him my friend,” said Vance.
HPSD said it plans to name an interim head baseball coach before the district dismisses students for Christmas break.