Southern Miss

Significant changes are on the way for the Southern Miss baseball staff

Southern Miss mounts intense rally to take down Rice in C-USA tourney

Southern Miss’ Matt Wallner hit a walk-off home run to beat Rice in the C-USA tournament in Biloxi.
Up Next
Southern Miss’ Matt Wallner hit a walk-off home run to beat Rice in the C-USA tournament in Biloxi.

The Southern Miss baseball staff has mostly seen stability as Scott Berry enters his 11th year as head coach, but there will be significant changes entering the 2020 campaign.

Texas A&M coach Rob Childress has hired USM associate head coach Chad Caillet as an assistant and USM volunteer assistant B.A. Vollmuth has decided to step away from the program and enter private business.

Both men have played prominent roles for USM baseball with a combined total of 21 years at Southern Miss as either a player or coach.

Caillet, a former USM infielder under Hill Denson, was a member of the Golden Eagles’ staff for 12 years after previously working at Southeastern Louisiana and McNeese State. He instructed hitters and also tutored players on defense at USM.

Vollmuth, a Biloxi native who earned a reputation as one of the best power hitters in USM history during his three years as a player in 2009-11, served the last five years as a volunteer assistant.

“Those two individuals have been very important to our program over the years,” Berry said. “They’ve worked very hard, but this is part of the business. Just like you lose players, you sometimes run the risk of losing coaches. One good thing is we’ve been pretty consistent with our coaching staff, year in and year out.”

This will mark the second time in three years that Berry has had to replace a key member of the staff after Michael Federico as hired as the head coach at Louisiana-Monroe in 2017.

“We were able to get (former Louisiana Tech assistant Christian Ostrander) in and he’s certainly done a great job for us,” Berry said. “Just like Chad, he had the opportunity to move on and better himself and family. We want to get somebody in here that will pick up where he left off.”

Caillet was regarded as one of the nation’s top recruiters during his time at Southern Miss, which has become Conference USA’s dominant program with either a regular season title or a C-USA tournament championship in each of the last four years.

With the roster largely set for the 2020 campaign, Berry doesn’t plan to waste much time in finding Caillet’s replacement.

“The sooner, the better,” Berry said. “He needs to be the right person, the right fit for us. This is not a position for training on the job. There’s going to be enough learning with the way we do things and the blue print for the program. We have a pretty sound blue print. For the most part, we need somebody that has been in our business and is established.”

Berry said that he’s had about a dozen candidates reach out to show interest in the job since Caillet’s departure was first reported late last week.

Addition to the roster

With Bryant Bowen’s decision to transfer to South Carolina for his final year of eligibility, Southern Miss may have found his replacement with a new junior college signee.

Berry said Tuesday that he has signed Brian Davis, a catcher from Gordon State College in Barnesville, Georgia.

“I haven’t seen him play, but I’ve had a lot of people vouch for him,” he said. “He certainly checks those boxes for us. He’s a very good catcher and a guy that proved he could be pretty efficient at the plate at the junior college level in Georgia. I’ve had several people I have confidence in vouch for him and we’re excited to have him.”

Davis hit .355 with three homers and 22 RBIs as part of a Gordon State team that finished 50-9. He also had a .988 fielding percentage.

Davis is the first junior college product out of Georgia to sign with Southern Miss under Berry’s watch. He will likely compete for playing time with Caleb Sterling, a signee out of Warren Central High School in Vicksburg..

Patrick Magee is a sports writer who has covered South Mississippi for much of the last two decades. From Southern Miss to high schools, he stays on top of it all.