Family and strong baseball tradition has brought Neil Frederic back to the Coast.
The Pascagoula native was approved by the Harrison County school board Monday to lead the Harrison Central baseball program.
Frederic replaces long-time coach Pat Olmi, who retired in May after leading the Red Rebels for 20 years.
“I’m a Coast guy at heart so being from the Coast, this was about getting the opportunity to bring my family back home,” said Frederic, who previously was the head coach at Center Hill in Olive Branch for six seasons. “Everybody doesn’t have to keep up with me on Facebook. They can come see us play now.”
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While “returning home” was a big part of Frederic’s decision, he made it clear there were more factors.
“I played against them growing up so I know there’s a lot of tradition there, but Pat Olmi put them on the map,” he said. “I just watched (former Red Rebel and current Southeastern Louisiana Lion) Derrick Mount on TV at LSU.”
Frederic graduated from Pascagoula in 1994 and played at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College and Belhaven before transferring to LSU as a student. Frederic then joined the coaching ranks as a volunteer assistant at MGCCC before serving as an assistant at Stone and his alma mater Pascagoula under Johnny Olsen.
It was difficult at the time, but Frederic left the Coast to take over the Center Hill program. He returns to South Mississippi married with a four-month old and a new “baseball family” to keep up with on Facebook.
“We love it at Center Hill. It has been a very tough decision. We have made so many friends. When I came up here I knew nothing about Center Hill,” Frederic said. “Now I’m married with a four-month-old son. This place means the world. This (change) is just the next chapter in my life. Center Hill prepared me for this chapter.”
Admittedly, Frederic can be emotional and often speaks from the heart — he said he’s never scripted. A big reason he got into coaching at the prep ranks is because of the relationships that are built on the high school level.
“Baseball ends but life does not,” he said. “I’m forever grateful for the kids who gave their all for Center Hill baseball.
“Right now it’s just time to come home.”
According to MaxPreps.com, Frederic was 89-91-1 in six seasons with the Mustangs.