Mason Strickland named head coach at alma mater South Jones

Published: Jul. 3, 2022 at 12:18 AM CDT
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ELLISVILLE, Miss. (WDAM) - Maybe the shining moment of Mason Strickland’s baseball career - a complete game shutout to keep Southern Miss alive at the 2018 Conference USA Tournament, earning him MVP.

One can still find Strickland around a baseball diamond these days, named South Jones’ new head coach at the start of June.

“I think he’s going to be an outstanding head coach,” said USM head coach Scott Berry. “He’s really laid back and easy going. He’s not an in your face, that wasn’t how he was when he competed. He was a quiet competitor that went about his business, didn’t show much emotion at all, he acted like he had done it before.”

The game’s taken Strickland many places - a national title at Jones County Junior College, a couple of NCAA Regionals with the Golden Eagles.

Now he’s back at his alma mater.

“It’s a blessing to be able to come back to where it all started for you,” Strickland said. “Coach Jordan Rogers, when he hired me two years ago, he’s taught me almost everything I know, close to it, about baseball. Being a hard worker and just pretty much out-working everybody.”

That blue collar mentality Strickland played with has followed him into coaching - a profession he really didn’t consider until he got to Southern Miss.

“I can take a bunch of things from coach Berry and coach [Chris] Kirtland and even coach [Christian] Ostrander,” Strickland said. “Coach Ostrander is notorious for just making you believe in yourself and pulling the best out of you. And it’s just building the confidence in you. We go through all these intersquads and at the time I was facing Matt Wallner and Luke Reynolds and those guys were really, really good hitters. I had to have confidence I could get those guys out.”

Strickland admits he’s had a pretty nice group of mentors along the way.

Now he hopes to be the same for the next wave of Braves to come through Ellisville.

“Just kind of realizing what some of those kids go through,” Strickland said. “Not necessarily here but maybe at home and maybe they’re not the kid to yell at. Maybe that’s the kid that you need to pull to the side and talk to a little bit. That’s what it’s all about. You come out here and coach these guys and you start building that relationship, you have those guys wanting to run through a brick wall for you.”

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