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Changing careers rewards Edwards

A few years ago, Casey Edwards appeared destined for a promisingcareer in drafting. However, a conversation with Co-Lin baseballcoach Keith Case helped him change careers.

Edwards was rewarded by the career change and coached theBrookhaven Academy Cougars to the MAIS Class AA State championshipin his first year at the helm. For his efforts, Edwards has beennamed The DAILY LEADER’s 2010 All-Lincoln County Baseball Coach ofthe Year.

“It certainly was a special year,” said Edwards, a FranklinCounty native. “To me the baseball championship is the hardest oneto win.

“Baseball is a finesse game,” Edwards added. “You have tooutthink your opponent and make the fewest mistakes.”

Edwards said he was extremely proud of the Cougars and what theyaccomplished. “To beat out some good teams speaks well of theirwork ethic. I’m very proud of them.”

He had five seniors on the team in outfielder Dan Coleman, firstbaseman Will Gatlin, pitcher/infielder Brent Henderson,pitcher/outfielder Tripp Jolly and pitcher/infielder TylerParvin.

Also in the starting lineup most of the time were juniorpitcher/designated hitter Hunter McCullough, junior catcher/DHHunter Franklin, junior outfielder Donovan Lorraine, eighth gradecatcher Landon Nettles and sophomore infielder Will Lucas.

The team posted a 29-8 record and accounted for 41 home runs,second only to Richton in statewide competition.

Obviously, the Cougars enjoyed playing for Edwards. Gatlin said,”Coach Edwards put everything together for us. He makes practicefun, not monotonous.”

The Cougars had reached the South State semifinals last yearbefore falling to Copiah Academy. They were hungry for a statetitle and ended a 26-year famine at the school.

In a rare feat, BA claimed four state titles during the schoolyear, winning football, boys basketball, boys tennis and baseballcrowns.

Coach Case is a baseball mind I owe a lot to,” said Edwards. “Istarted out with a drafting degree. I called Coach Case and toldhim I wanted to get into coaching. We had a long talk and I changedmy major at MC (Mississippi College).”

A 1995 Franklin County graduate, Edwards played baseball forJohnny Monroe in high school. “(Monroe) coached us by himself mysenior year.

“I’ve been fortunate to play under some good coaches during mybaseball career. They have a lot of knowledge.”

Edwards was a pitcher and infielder at Co-Lin beforeconcentrating on his mound duties at MC where he played for headcoach Lee Kuyrkendall. Sam Temple was MC’s pitching coach and “Ilearned a lot from both coaches.”

Edwards coached one year at Gulfport before working four yearsas an assistant coach at Clinton. An opportunity to move closer tohome brought him to Lincoln County.

“I knew BA had some tremendous athletes from watching thefootball and basketball teams,” said Edwards. “The baseball teamwas hungry to win and they had a great attitude. This was an easygroup of guys to coach.”

Edwards said the school’s administration and fan support haveprovided plenty of encouragement. “There’s lots of support out hereand we have a great facility, too.”

He also recognized the tireless efforts of his assistantcoaches: Robert Young and David Gilbert.

Edwards is married to the former Brooke Hollingsworth ofPrentiss.