UNDATED (WLOX) - Having played for Delta State from 1979-82, Biloxi native Barry Lyons was fortunate enough to know legendary baseball coach Boo Ferriss for an extended period of time.
Ferriss, who died Thursday at the age of 94, made a lasting impact on anybody that was lucky enough to meet him.
"He was as Jesus-like as any man that walked this earth as far as I'm concerned," Lyons said. "The qualities that he exuded, the integrity that he carried with him every where he went, you never heard a bad word about Dave Boo Ferriss."
After being selected by the Detroit Tigers in the 1981 MLB Draft, Lyons decided to return to Delta State for his senior season and received words of encouragement from Ferriss on key decisions for the future.
"We had a father-son conversation and he literally spelled out what was possible and what lied ahead of me," Lyons said. "He encouraged me to make some changes in some of my off-the-field behaviors."
One of the most endearing qualities Ferriss had was producing hand-written letters to former players.
"I received one probably five or six months ago after not receiving one for a few years," Lyons said. "The latter years of his life he was limited physically, but mentally he was as sharp as could be. Those letters were very special.
"He had really distinct, beautiful handwriting. He used a black felt-tip pen and was very uplifting, always gave you a positive message, and was always there for us, and for me personally. He was a father-figure yes, a coach yes, but a dear friend moreso. He stayed with me, believed in me, encouraged me all my life."