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Wife helps Spring excel as championship coach

Usually, there is a devoted woman behind every successful man.Brookhaven baseball coach Randy Spring quickly points to his wife,the former Amy Everett of Meridian, for helping him become anoutstanding baseball coach.

Spring was the runaway winner for the selection of 2004All-Lincoln County Baseball Coach of the Year, directing the OleBrook Panthers to the Class 4A state championship. They finished30-8 as Brookhaven won its first-ever state title.

“Amy understands the game pretty well,” said Spring. “She’s agood baseball wife as well as a good wife. She does a lot of stuffwhich helps the program go.”

Moyer Field is their home away from home. Spring is working agroup of BHS athletes in the high school summer league, preparingthem for the 2005 campaign. “Amy’s going to help out in theconcession stand during the summer, too.”

Amy said she met her husband at Southern Miss. “I was a batgirlfor Southern when Randy was playing there.” During two years ofbaseball at USM the romance blossomed.

They were married in 1993. They have two boys, Brett, age 8; andBrady, age 2. Brett is involved in the Dixie Youth AA League thissummer.

“Baseball takes a lot of long hours,” said Amy. “Then I had togo to cheerleader camps. We just pick it up and go. Our two-yearold wakes up and asks, ‘Where’s the ballgame today, Mommy?'”

Coach Spring agreed. “Baseball is what we do. Our lives revolvearound the sport. Amy works in the concession stand. She tries tokeep the batgirls organized.”

“Baseball is great,” said Amy. “I’ve always liked sports. WhenDaddy (the Rev. Mike Everett) was at Mt. Zion Baptist, they playedsoftball all year round.”

An active softball player, she sustained a knee injury whichlimited her athletic career. That didn’t stop her from beinginvolved in baseball. She was a batgirl at Meridian CommunityCollege for Coach Corky Palmer and worked for Hill Denson atSouthern Miss.

“We watch baseball on television,” said Amy. “We have been toAtlanta and Houston,” to watch Major League games. “We plan to goto Washington D.C. to see the Orioles play this summer.”

Spring was a catcher at USM. He graduated from McComb ParklaneAcademy and went to Southwest Mississippi Community College wherehe played baseball for one year.

Head coach at BHS for five years, Spring has compiled a recordof 102 wins and 52 losses. The Panthers have won two straightDivision 6-4A titles. He was head coach at Forrest County AHSbefore coming to Brookhaven..

Spring, 34, is coaching a summer team in the high school league.Dwayne Oberschmidt and Daniel Boyd are assisting him.

“We need to get all the game experience we can get,” saidSpring. “Those guys need some experience.”

Spring loses eight seniors to graduation in pitcher/shortstopsScotty Smith and Brooks Hall, pitcher Matt Walker, centerfielderXavier Qualls, third baseman Cody Dunaway, DH/second baseman JoshPatrick, rightfielder W.T. King and catcher Adam Ogden. Seven ofthem were starters.

“Those eight seniors were a special group,” said Spring. “Theywere eighth grade rookies. My first rookie group my first yearhere.

“Winning a championship with them was special,” said Spring.”They dealt with adversity. Whether we won a championship or not,they created the type of attitude I want Brookhaven to have,” saidSpring.

“Hopefully, this won’t be a one-year wonder for us. We want tobe in the hunt for the state championship every year. If you workhard and things go your way, you can be a contender.””

Three starters return in first baseman Grant McDonnieal, secondbaseman Elliot Warren and leftfielder/pitcher Darius Perkins.

Spring was recognized with a regional coaching honor in January,at the American Baseball Coaches Association convention in SanAntonio, Texas, after winning the division title last year.

Besides coaching the summer league team, Spring said he has abusy schedule ahead. “At the end of this month, I’ll get to work ashowcase camp in Tempe, Ariz.”

Spring said he will be coaching Team One, a group of high schoollevel standouts from across the South. “Petal coach Larry Watkinsinvited me to help with the team.”

Spring wanted to share the coaching award with his assistantcoaches, Jaymie Palmer, Eric Stokes and Dwayne Oberschmidt. “Myassistant coaches do a great job. We have a pretty cohesive staff.We have some intensity and some laid back guys.”

Palmer coaches pitchers and outfielders. “Jaymie deserves a lotof the credit for Scotty’s development,” said Spring.

Stokes coaches infielders. “He has a great baseballbackground.”

“Dwayne Oberschmidt coaches our junior high team but he keepsour varsity straight, too,” said Spring. “He keeps us organized,especially on game nights.”

Brookhaven performed like a roller-coaster at times but thePanthers caught fire late in the season, especially in theplayoffs.

“Our defense was up and down all year,” said Spring. “In ourbiggest games, we played our best defense.”

Spring played for Ken Jackson at Parklane, Butch Holmes atSouthwest and Hill Denson at Southern Miss. “All of them shaped myphilosophy,” said Spring. “Ken works hard. He’s always looking forways to improve.

“Butch taught me about toughness,” said Spring. “Coach Densontaught me a lot about making your players understand that they areentertainers. People are paying money to come see you play.”

Spring said his parents provide plenty of support. “My dadfollows me. I have great parents, (A.J. and Janie Spring). Theyhave always supported me in everything I’ve done.”