Ocean Springs has decided to bring one of its own back into the fold.
Two weeks after long-time girls soccer coach Patrick Hayes announced his plans to step down in order to spend more time with his family, OSHS called on one of its own to lead the program forward.
Athletics director Mark Hubbard said Monday the school has hired former Greyhound Ryan Joiner to lead the program, pending school board approval in June.
Joiner returns to OSHS after leading St. Stanislaus to three straight Class 4A titles.
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"We were looking for a championship coach and he was one of the few we were interested in," Hubbard said. "We thought that after talking with him he was the best choice to take the program forward."
Hubbard said it's nice to hire a 2005 graduate of Ocean Springs, but his Greyhound roots were only part of the equation.
"It's always nice to have an Ocean Springs guy of his caliber. That's hard to find for any school. We don't just hire because you're from Ocean Springs. You have to be qualified like everyone else," Hubbard said. "I think it's a hat trick hire when you look at the championships, the kind of guy he is and his character."
Hubbard said the fact Joiner has been coaching a boys team recently didn't play a role in the hiring process. He also pointed to Joiner's past experience coaching girls club teams.
"If you can coach, you can coach," Hubbard said.
Joiner called going "home" to Ocean Springs very humbling.
"Leaving St. Stanislaus is tough," Joiner said. "Today was a pretty emotional day for me, but going back home and having the honor of being an alumnus and going back means a lot to me."
A neat twist in the hire is Joiner's relationship with Hayes, who recruited the new OSHS girls coach when he was at Pearl River Community College. Joiner ultimately chose Meridian, but the friendship that was forged in 2005 is still alive today.
"I just hope I can fill his shoes," Joiner said.
During his time as Ocean Springs head coach, Hayes helped elevate the Lady Greyhounds into not only an annual contender but a program that continually puts athletes into the college ranks.
"He's going to be missed," Hubbard said of Hayes. "He was an all-around guy also. Not only a good coach, but a good person. He brought this program to new heights."
Joiner won't waste any time at OSHS. He said he's hoping to hold tryouts next week and, much like when he took over SSC three years ago, expect the Lady Greyhounds to hit the ground running.
"It's not a rebuild," Joiner said. "It's a reload."