It appears Southern Miss’ baseball coaching staff is back at capacity — with the addition of a familiar name to Coast fans.
Louisiana Tech coach Lane Burroughs confirmed to the Sun Herald on Thursday that Southern Miss will add his pitching coach, Christian Ostrander.
Ostrander replaces Michael Federico, who has been hired to lead Louisiana-Monroe’s program.
Ostrander’s name should be familiar to South Mississippians. Prior to spending the last two years at Louisiana Tech, Ostrander was the head coach at both Jones County Junior College (for seven seasons) and Gulfport High in 2007 and 2008.
A Monroe, Louisiana, native, Ostrander also coached at his alma mater, Delta State, and Arkansas State.
Under Ostrander’s guidance, Louisiana Tech’s pitching staff boasted an ERA of 4.44. As a team, the Bulldogs also struck out 413 batters against 167 walks in 498 2/3 innings. The team’s ace, Nate Harris, was also named an All-American by Collegiate Baseball. He led Conference USA in wins (8), saves (8), ERA (1.75), complete games (3), WHIP (0.90), among other statistics.
Ostrander will take over a staff that posted a 4.16 ERA but will need to replace a healthy number of starts with Kirk McCarty (17), Hayden Roberts (10) and Taylor Braley (13) turning pro.
The former Admiral skipper was back on the Coast this season with Louisiana Tech as Biloxi’s MGM Park hosted the conference tournament.
While back in South Mississippi, Ostrander reflected on his two-year run with GHS.
“Really enjoyed those two years down there. Contrary to what people may have thought at the time, I wasn’t down there using it as a stepping stone,” he said. “I was happy with where we were at. After two years some other things popped up, opportunities, and we moved on from there.”
Ostrander was asked about Louisiana Tech’s Mississippi ties.
“Mississippi has good baseball (at the) junior college ranks, high school ranks,” he said. “If you look at our roster right now there’s a lot of Mississippi kids as there should be. When you have Mississippi to your right and Texas to your left, those are the areas you really need to focus on.
“And I have relationships. I’ve been in this state a long time and I feel like I have good relationships. Coach Burroughs has good relationships with Mississippi guys. All of us. It makes sense. You go where there’s relationships and not only that but good players.”
Of the nine Mississippians on the Bulldogs’ roster this season, seven were junior college products.
As of Thursday afternoon Ostrander’s hire had not officially been announced by USM.