USM hires a new baseball coach

USM hires a new baseball coach

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HATTIESBURG, Miss. – Southern Miss Director of Athletics Jeremy McClain announced Sunday the promotion of Christian Ostrander to Head Baseball Coach at the conclusion of the 2023 season.

Ostrander becomes the 14th head coach in the school’s history and only the fifth since 1959, following Pete Taylor (1959-83), Hill Denson (1984-1997), Corky Palmer (1998-2009) and Scott Berry (2010-2023), who announced his retirement earlier this week at the end of the current season.

“I am excited to announce Christian Ostrander as the next head baseball coach at Southern Miss,” said McClain. “Christian brings not only an outstanding track record to the position, but also the commitment, accountability, and character we have grown to expect from our baseball program. As a Golden Eagle, he has been a major part of our success over the past six years and is well respected around the country for his work on and off the field. I look forward to his leadership and to working with him in continuing to elevate our program on a national level.”

The current Associate Head Coach for the last two seasons has been with the program for six years overseeing the pitching staff for the Golden Eagles.

During his first five years, Ostrander has helped lead the Golden Eagles to four NCAA regional berths, mentoring one National Pitcher of the Year, two Dick Howser and Golden Spikes national semifinalists, two Ferriss Trophy winners for top player in the state of Mississippi, five different All-Americans, one Freshman All-American and three Conference USA Pitchers of the Year in Nick Sandlin (2018), Walker Powell (2021) and Tanner Hall (2022). For the third time in its C-USA history, the program enjoyed three first-team C-USA pitchers picked in 2022.

Last season, Ostrander was also named the C-USA Assistant Coach of the Year for the second consecutive season helping him become the only coach to ever win that award twice in its history.

Despite losing 12 pitchers off last year’s roster, Ostrander helped assemble another outstanding staff this spring that has helped the Golden Eagles win 37 games which look to be on the cusp of earning their seventh-straight NCAA Tournament berth. Led by Tanner Hall, who has posted an 11-3 record this season, Southern Miss led the Sun Belt Conference through the regular season in all games in earned run average (4.84), opposing batting average (.241), hits allowed (422), runs allowed (282), and walks allowed (216). They also finished second in strikeouts (540) and third in saves (16).

“I am extremely honored and humbled for the opportunity to be the next Head Baseball Coach at The University of Southern Mississippi,” said Ostrander. “The rich tradition that had been built here over the years by Coach Taylor, Coach Denson, Coach Palmer, and Coach Berry is truly incredible and admirable. It is with great excitement and great privilege to lead this program moving forward.

“On behalf of my family, wife Amy, and daughters Caitlin and Allie, I would like to thank University President Dr. Joe Paul, Director of Athletics Jeremy McClain and Coach Berry for this tremendous opportunity.”

Ostrander came to Southern Miss after spending two seasons at Louisiana Tech as their associate head coach and pitching coach. During those two years, the Bulldogs posted a 78-40 record and went to an NCAA Tournament. Serving as the pitching coach for Louisiana Tech, Ostrander’s staff shattered the record books leading the Bulldogs to 42 wins his initial season – the most for any LA Tech team since 1988.

Prior to LA Tech, Ostrander spent seven years as the head coach at Jones County Junior College in Ellisville. In addition to his head coaching duties at JCJC, Ostrander oversaw the pitching staff in his time with the Bobcats.

The Monroe, La., native led the Bobcats to two MACJC state championships in 2011 and 2014 and helped guide Jones County to four division title in seven years. He also led JCJC to two 40-win seasons and set the school record for wins in a season on four different occasions. In seven seasons at Jones County, Ostrander compiled a 255-109 overall record with the Bobcats, good for a .701 winning percentage. His 2011 squad finished second place in the NJCAA Division II World Series.

Ostrander also served as pitching coach, recruiting coordinator and camp coordinator at Delta State from 1999-2002.

DSU posted a 189-43 record during his four seasons, winning the Gulf South Conference West Division championship all four years and the South Regional championship in 2001 and 2002. In his final two seasons at Delta State, the Statesmen competed in the Division II College World Series in both 2001 and 2002.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Delta State in 1996 and his Master of Education in administration from DSU in 1998. Ostrander has been a member of the American Baseball Coaches Association since 1998.

In the fall of 2019, Ostrander earned induction into the Jones College Hall of Fame.

“I am excited for, and extremely proud Christian will be our next Head Baseball Coach at USM,” said Berry. “Watching Christian learn and develop over the past 6 years, he understands what Southern Miss Baseball is all about! His loyalty, work ethic, and commitment to tradition will endear him to our Southern Miss Faithful.”

A press conference and fan celebration to officially announce Ostrander will be held following the conclusion of the season.