Bulldogs name DeLoach new head baseball coach

By STEVE DIFFEY,

Madison native Scott DeLoach has been named the new head baseball coach at Holmes Community College.

DeLoach, who was an All-State selection and state champion at Madison Central, was a standout catcher for the Mississippi State University Bulldogs and the Itawamba Community College Indians. He will bring nine years of coaching experience to a history-rich baseball program at Holmes Community College.

“First and foremost I want to thank Dr. Haffey and Andy Wood for this opportunity and the rest of the administration at Holmes,” DeLoach said. “Being a head coach is something that I’ve wanted to do for a very long time and being able to get that opportunity at such a great institution is something I can be very proud of. It’s somewhere we are going to work very hard and get after it. We are going to have a lot of fun doing it. I can’t wait to get in there and get rolling with these guys.”

DeLoach got into coaching in June 2011 as a volunteer coach at Millsaps College. He remained in that position until September 2013 when he became assistant coach at East Central Community College in Decatur before returning back to Millsaps as assistant coach in July 2014 under Head Coach Jim Page.

Along with coaching at Millsaps, he was highly involved in evaluating and recruiting players; scheduled practices and team meetings; assisted in fundraising; coordinated travel; oversaw the baseball budget; managed the federal work study program; coordinated alumni/donor relations; served as a member of the enrollment management committee; served as director of gameday operations and helped coordinate summer baseball camps for elementary and high school kids each year.

At Millsaps, DeLoach coached six All-Americans; 10 members of the All-South Region team; one All-South Region Players of the Year; 49 All-Conference players; and one Conference Player of the Year. Millsaps won the SAA regular season and tournament championship in 2013; NCAA Regional appearances in 2012 and 2013; and the NCAA Division III World Series in 2013.

As a player, he played three seasons at Mississippi State, redshirting his junior year. He started his senior season as a catcher and led the team with a .353 average including seven doubles, one triple, one home run, and 21 RBIs in 47 games played. During his time with the Bulldogs, DeLoach was a member of the team in 2007 that reached the College World Series in Omaha, Neb..

Prior to MSU, DeLoach began his college career at Itawamba Community College, where he played two seasons and was named the MACJC and NJCAA XXIII Defensive Player of the Year in 2006. He led Itawamba to a 41-16 record and advanced to the NJCAA Super Regionals in St. Catherine, Kentucky.  

DeLoach’s brother, Rob, played football for Holmes, and he said he has been very familiar with the college over the years. “It’s something I’ve dreamed of for a long time in this profession is becoming a head coach, and I don’t think there’s a better place to do it than right up the road from where I grew up,” DeLoach said. “Holmes is a great institution and has some great leaders. I’m very excited to get up there and be a part of that and get the ball rolling. Growing up, Holmes had such a tradition of winning. I’ve always had an attraction to Holmes and kept up with it. I believe the past success that the baseball program has had is something that can be achieved again.”

He said plans to immediately reach out to the Holmes players who had their season cut short because of COVID-19.

“The first order of business will be retaining the current players starting with the sophomores who haven’t signed, but I understand most those have signed and are moving on,” DeLoach said. “Then I’ll be reaching out to the freshmen and trying to keep those kids on the roster for next year. I want to talk to those guys and begin to build a relationship with them; let them know about my philosophy and how we are going to attack things. I want our current guys and signees to know, Holmes is where I want them to be and where I want them to develop as men and baseball players. Then it’s hitting the recruiting trail as soon as we are cleared to do so.”

He said he knows the 2020-21 team has some out-of-state spots available as well as some in-state ones. “Luckily in this day and age, there are a ton of kids you can identify even though we aren’t allowed on the road right now. The internet has really transformed the recruiting landscape,” he said. “You can still find some kids. It’s just unorthodox from what we we’re used to.”

“One of the biggest things program-wise is getting a group of kids in there who love Holmes, who want to be a part of this campus and who want to represent the school in the right way,” DeLoach said. “We want players who are going to compete extremely hard and play the game the way it’s supposed to be played. That’s the model in simplest form.”

Holmes is currently renovating a maintenance facility into an indoor facility which will aid in recruiting. “That’s going to be top notch,” he said. “It’s going to be hard for other schools to compete with that once it’s completed. It’ll be a big recruiting tool for us.”

Because summer ball is huge in the state, he plans to identify potential players in the summer. “Summer is the most important time in recruiting,” DeLoach said. “I will be identifying talent and getting on the phone and developing relationships with these kids. They have more time to talk to you in the summer compared to when they are in school. We all want to take time in the summer to see family but being on the road and being seen and communicating with these players is a top priority.”

He would like for Holmes to be a host for some of the summer league teams as well. “Those things can’t be rivaled in the recruiting process,” he said. “That’s a good starting point. The more times we can get kids on campus the better it is. It’s so much better to talk to a recruit on your campus face to face than it is on the phone.”

He described himself as “laid back.” “I like to have fun,” DeLoach said. “I really think practices have to be very fast-paced and intense. Then when you get to game day, that’s the fun and easy part. That’s what we all want and strive for. Our goal is to get some guys who want to put that work in on the practice side of things so we can be successful on the field.”

“In practice, we are going to create as many game-like situations as we possibly can. So when we get to game time we can say ‘hey guys y’all go play’,” he said. “This is a game you have to play with a smile on your face. We can’t let the moment get to us or get too sped up. We’ve got to train ourselves to work our plans and stay in the process.”

DeLoach is thankful to have played for Rick Collier at Itawamba along with Ron Polk and John Cohen at Mississippi State. His teams at both places were very successful but he is thankful for the wealth of knowledge he gained at both institutions.

“Learning from a guy who invests so much in his program was really neat as an 18- or 19-year-old kid,” DeLoach said of Collier. “Just seeing the love and passion he has for his program really made an impact on me as I moved forward. We knew he invested so much into the program and that we needed to do the same.”

“I got to spend two years under Coach Polk and one year under Coach Cohen learning how they did things,” he said of his time at MSU. “Both of their track records speak for themselves. I got an opportunity to learn under three different coaches in college. I got to see things that made each of them very successful, which in turn helped me develop a plan for how I want to run my own program. Coach Cohen and Coach Polk have reached out and congratulated me on this, which means a lot to me. That coaching tree is massive and neat to be a part of. It will be beneficial where I am now.”

DeLoach also said how grateful he is for his time working for Millsaps Head Coach Jim Page.

“I cannot begin to thank Coach Page enough for what he has taught me over the past several years,” DeLoach said. “He has been very successful in his time as a head coach, and I was very lucky to work for a man of his caliber. He will definitely be someone that I lean on as I start running my own program.”

DeLoach holds an associate of arts degree from Itawamba Community College, a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology at Mississippi State University and a master’s degree in sports administration from Mississippi State University. DeLoach was a two-time SEC Honor Roll recipient.

DeLoach and his wife, Caroline, have one son, Houston, who is one. Caroline just finished her second season as head softball coach at Millsaps College and was an assistant at Millsaps when he began coaching there. “That’s how we met and began our relationship,” he said. “She got her dream job, and I hopefully just landed mine.”