Meridian Star

Sports

May 21, 2014

Quitman hires Goodman for baseball

QUITMAN — QUITMAN — Brian Goodman met with players and parents at Quitman High School Monday to introduce himself as the Panthers’ new baseball coach.

Goodman, who replaces Jim Abraham, comes to Quitman after two years at Puckett High School and 12 years at Lake High School, where he was head baseball coach at both schools.

“It was a good meeting,” Goodman said Tuesday. “The first time is sort of me telling them about myself. They want to hear what you have to say is the main thing. We’re going to try to practice next week after exams are over.”

That practice will give way to summer ball in June, which will provide Goodman with the chance to see what kind of team he will be coaching next spring.

“We just want to see improvement and see what they can and can’t do,” he said. “Summer doesn’t mean a whole lot to me other than getting experience. We just want to get the kids under the lights. I think we’re graduating six or seven seniors, so we’ll be losing several starters, will will give us a lot of holes to fill.”

As a Class 4A school, Goodman said his program will constantly be going up against powerhouses like Newton County and West Lauderdale high schools. In order to compete with them, he said having the right kind of players is key.

“Quitman has always had players and always had athletes, and it’s always been good in the past,” Goodman said. “There are some facility upgrades we want to make, and the parents want to do some things, but we mainly just want to turn the team into winners year in and year out.

“(Class) 4A is always a tough classification, with teams like Newton County and West Lauderdale. Hopefully, we can build some type of program that resembles them and be able to go deep into the playoffs in a couple of years.”

Pitching will be critical if the Panthers want to maintain that level of success in the long term, Goodman added.

“You have to have pitching, and you have to have good players,” he said. “If not, you’re in trouble. That’s going to take time. It’s important to have a good junior high feeder program that teaches kids the game and how you want to do things.”

A 1995 graduate of Clarkdale High School, Goodman said the Quitman job gave him an opportunity to return to familiar territory.

“It gave me a chance to come back home and be around my family and be in the area,” he said.

Though he’s the new face of Quitman baseball, Goodman insisted that it’s not about him, it’s about the players.

“No one person is bigger than the program,” he said.

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