VANCLEAVE, MS (WLOX) - The newest head coach of Vancleave baseball is ready for the challenge.
Justin Edwards replaces Daniel Best, who led the Bulldogs to the 2018 Class 4A State Championship in his only year with the team, the only state championship in program history. In his first meeting with his returning players Tuesday night, Edwards said he preached a message of stability, as they face the task of playing under their third head coach in as many seasons.
"The biggest thing that I spoke on was that I'm not here to reinvent the wheel or make all these crazy changes," Edwards said. "Vancleave has always been a great community and baseball program for as long as I can remember.
"They accomplished the pinnacle of what all baseball programs try to accomplish, something that I've never accomplished as a coach. For them to have that experience and for them to have been on that stage, it's big shoes to fill and it's tough to follow up, but at the same time you want to be part of a program that has those types of expectations."
Having played collegiate baseball with Gulf Coast and New Orleans, Edwards spent the last six seasons as an assistant coach under Jamie McMahon at Gulfport. Edwards said he learned valuable lessons during his tenure with the Admirals, which included a 2017 Class 6A South State Championship.
"You can't put into words what it's like to coach under a guy like Coach Mac," Edwards said. "What he brings to the table, his knowledge, his enthusiasm, his experience, how he deals with the players, how he controls a baseball game - it's something special. I owe a lot of credit to him."