Wayne County High School Baseball
Hometown: Laurel, Mississippi
Education: Jones County Junior College, William Carey University, Southern Mississippi
Email: chase.stewart601 [at] gmail.com
The moment you first realized that you might like to make coaching part of your career.
I always knew I wanted to coach, but I made it a serious goal in high school. Playing the game, learning the game, and being able to make an impact persuaded me to become a coach. Once I made it to the JUCO level it became more evident. I was fortunate enough to play under coach Christian Ostrander (Oz), currently the Southern Miss pitching coach, at Jones County Junior College. Playing under a guy like himself encouraged me to continually strive to reach the goal of coaching. He wasn’t just a coach, but he was a mentor and father figure on the baseball field. One day I expect to have the same effect on the players I coach.
Outside of mentors, talk about one way you’ve learned some aspect of coaching.
Reading books. I began reading autobiographies on athletes in junior college. A few favorites consists of the following: Beyond Belief by Josh Hamilton, Through My Eyes by Tim Tebow, Coming Back Stronger by Drew Brees, and Ballplayer by Chipper Jones. Currently I am reading John Wooden’s book called Wooden on Leadership. Being an English teacher has increased my will to read. Any time I can gain knowledge or understanding from others’ situations and experiences, I try to do so. PS: Matt Deggs book “15-28” is the greatest story I have ever read.
What is your favorite memory from a coaching conference or clinic?
It was at my first coaching clinic (Mississippi Coaching Clinic), in Jackson, MS. Coach Mike Bianco (Ole Miss head coach) walked into the room with their powder blue uniform on from head to toe and said, “You are probably wondering why I am wearing this today; well, if you were me you would be able to see that everyone in here is locked in on me. Any time I address a crowd I want their full attention.” He continued to speak about the importance of having your player’s eye contact and full attention. Quite frankly I was hyped about the uniform because I am an Ole Miss fan thru and thru; It also didn’t take much for me to be locked in to the winningest baseball coach in Ole Miss history.
Best career or work advice you ever received.
“I believe you will be a great coach. You are a great leader. You have to believe in yourself to accomplish that goal.” These words were spoken to me by Coach Oz (Ostrander) my sophomore year at JCJC. Coach Oz was a great coach, a phenomenal leader, but an even better mentor. He challenged me on a daily basis and desired my best effort at all times. Because of Coach Oz I was inspired to follow my goals of being a coach. The most intriguing part of that quote is not him believing in me, but him ensuring me that I had to believe in myself. I have always been a confident person, but there have been times of self doubt. I can always go back to this quote for a little added inspiration.
Your dream lunch date. One coach. Any sport. Any level. Living or dead. Who is it?
I would love to say a baseball coach here, but the only real choices for me are Duke’s Coach K and former UCLA’s John Wooden. As a young coach, having been thru years of playing baseball, I feel I can learn things about the game more efficiently by watching videos or talking with coaches that I am close to. But, I think it is vital for me to learn as much as possible about leadership and running a program that is full of young lives who want to be transformed and developed. The two coaches I have mentioned exemplify what it means to be a leader. To hear from either one of them in a one-on-one setting would be life changing I feel like. No one knows leadership qualities like Coach Wooden. He said it best: “Be what you want your team to become.”