Brandon coach’s baseball legacy includes 800 wins – Jackson Clarion Ledger
If you look at the Brandon “B” on every Bulldog’s hat you’ll notice it bears a striking resemblance to a famous MLB logo, that of the Boston Red Sox. Brandon’s head coach, Stacy Hester, is a small town kid from Greenville with a deep passion for the game of baseball and the Sox.
His passion for both came from the guidance of Boo Ferriss, Red Sox ace in the 1940s and Hester’s college coach at Delta State. His eye for detail was the same as Hester’s. Under Ferriss’ guidance Hester learned how to use that eye for detail to become a championship-caliber coach.
“He took me under his wing,” Hester said. “He taught me everything I know about the game of baseball.”
Ferriss did well: Hester recently won his 800th game in a long high school coaching career.
In his first year coaching (1987) he lead Washington Christian to a 31-3 season and a state championship. He set the bar for himself at the top. It was a gift and a curse. How do you go up from the highest accomplishment? Hester would by one day completing a perfect 43-0 season.
Hester coached five seasons with Washington Christian. He won two state championships for the program before moving on to New Hope.
In his fourth year with New Hope (1996), Hester was gearing up for a season just like any other he had coached in the past. This year would be different. It started with his players telling him, “Coach, we’re gonna go undefeated! We’re gonna do it.” They did it and Hester became the first high school baseball coach nationally to get to 43 wins without losing.
“They told me before the year started ‘We’ll go 43-0 coach!’,” Hester said. “I said, ‘Ya right!’. As a coach it’s basic baseball. Too many bad things can happen, a bad bounce, a bad break by an umpire making a bad call. It’s hard to go undefeated, but we did it.”
After his perfect season Hester won two more state championships with the Trojans, one in 1998 and another in 2003.
He spent 18 years with New Hope before again moving on. This time to the Brandon Bulldogs. He is currently in his fifth season with the program and most recently won his 800th career game, beating Oak Forest Academy 6-1 on March 11.
“It’s an honor getting to play for him,” said junior pitcher JT Ginn.. “You always know you have a chance to win with him as your coach. When he brings up his undefeated season he talks about the goals we need to set for ourselves. Even if people don’t think you’ll have success you need to find a way to make it.”
In 28 years on the diamond Hester has a career record of 805-229, won five state championships, is a four-time state runner-up, has been to 13 final fours, won 20 division titles, made it to the playoffs 27 times in 28 seasons, been named national coach of the year (1996), regional coach of the year (2003) and state coach of the year twice (1996 and 2016).
He credits his success to four things: being fair, his strong faith, the guidance he received from Ferriss and the family support he’s had over the many years he’s spent in dugouts across this country.
“I guess I just want people to know that I’ve coached with passion,” Hester said. “My wife said to me the other day, ‘When you get to heaven they’re not going to ask you how many state championships you won. He’s going to ask how many people did you influence.’ That’s the biggest thing for me. It’s the number of young men I’ve influenced.”