“A very proud day for a very proud program.” Christian Ostrander officially named the school’s 14th baseball coach


Christian Ostrander

Director of Athletics Jeremy McClain put it best when he officially introduced the newest baseball head coach of Southern Miss baseball, Christian Ostrander, on Tuesday.

“A very proud day for a very proud program,” McClain said.

The room was buzzing with fans full of excitement, and the energy was palpable. Even with the energy, there was a bittersweet feel to things. With now former head coach Scott Berry hanging up the helmet after 14 seasons as head coach, fans will no doubt never forget what Berry has done for the USM baseball program. However, who better to replace him than the man the reigning national champions in LSU practically begged to come coach for them last offseason…. insert Ostrander.

“This culture is sacred, right? It’s a covenant. And we’ve gotta uphold it… It is precious, and it’s up to you to sustain it.” Southern Miss President Joe Paul said when addressing Ostrander.

Paul said one of the most poignant quotes of recent memory when addressing Ostrander and the players in the audience who would be returning this upcoming year. Ostrander received words of love from the likes of John Cox (voice of the Golden Eagles, President Paul and McClain before being officially introduced. There were many incredible bits of history, funny moments, and heartfelt things these men said regarding Ostrander and his predecessors. Fans can check out the full comments and introduction via YouTube.

When Ostrander walked up those stairs and to the podium, the newest Southern Miss Baseball history era came upon USM. Since just after World War II, there have been five head baseball coaches. Now there are six. Ostrander thanked those in his life who helped bring him here and then detailed his career history before talking about his vision for Southern Miss Baseball.

He gave fans a taste of what this new era will be like starting by revealing that recruiting will be focused heavily on high school recruits while also looking to juco prospects to fill in needs that the team may have. They will also use the transfer portal but with a new twist.

“There’s another element in this new age of coaching called the portal. We all hear it, we know what it is. You gotta be a player in it, but this program’s not gonna be built on that at all. That’s not sustainable in my opinion. I don’t believe in that. I think it’s about developing and investing in good young talent and letting it grow and teaching them. I think that’s how you get consistency.” Ostrander said.

He also discussed in great detail how he would balance his previous role as a pitching coach and now the head coaching position.

“You know the head coach is gonna wear multiple hats, I understand that. There’ll be things an assistant hasn’t had to worry about as much… but for me, pitching is kinda what i do. It’s what I think has allowed me to get to this point. I’m still gonna be right there with that… I can’t give that up, I love it. But I’m also gonna have more involvement with the entire team. Gonna let Coach Creel, Coach Brewer, and Rhodes, and Danny and let them get after it with the hitters, but I’ll probably have input with things as well… For me the change is for on the field, I’m gonna continue to do what I’ve done, but also I know it’s gonna broaden a bit in certain areas. And then obviously, the things off the field that’s gonna grow as well.” Ostrander said.

Following in the shoes of Berry is no small task. The way that Berry has made Southern Miss baseball what it is today is something that no one can deny. You can also argue that no one could ever fill those shoes; Ostrander agrees.

“It feels special. Someone said ‘that’s big shoes to fill’, and I said ‘I ain’t filling no shoes, have you seen his feet?’ You know, I wouldn’t even try to fill his shoes because there’s only one Scott Berry.” Ostrander said.

That is a great way to put it. Even in the face of an exciting future with Southern Miss Baseball, we will be saying the name Scott Berry for a while here in Hattiesburg.

From the interviews with Berry, McClain, and Ostrander in media availability during the reception, everyone can tell that there is no worry of slipping or falling, and the only way to go from here is up.

Ostrander was confident and excited everyone in the room to see what was to come and punched a few tickets for spectators to watch some fall ball.

His plan for the future is to continue what works, both for his coaching and for Southern Miss itself. Because there is only one Scott Berry, and from this day forward, this is Ostrander’s program, and he gets to run it how he wants to. He does not claim to be filling Berry’s shoes; he is filling his own shoes. Being a head coach of a major college baseball program is the next step in his coaching journey.