Photo | University of South Alabama
Former University of South Alabama baseball coach Steve Kittrell will be inducted into the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in January.
Steve Kittrell is being inducted into the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) Hall of Fame. The ceremony will take place during the 75th annual ABCA convention on Friday, Jan. 4, 2019, at the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center in Dallas.
Kittrell coached baseball for 29 seasons, 28 of those at South Alabama, and finished with a career record of 1,084-663-1. At USA, Kittrell helped lead the Jaguars to 18 NCAA Tournament appearances, 14 Sun Belt Conference regular season and division titles, and eight league tournament championships. In 1983, he served as head baseball coach at Spring Hill College and led the Badgers to a 33-19 record.
“I’m extremely honored,” Kittrell said. “I served on the ABCA All-American committee for seven years, and I found out firsthand how well-run of an organization it is and how respected it is around the country. As a coach, you’re only going in [the Hall of Fame] because of your assistant coaches and players and the hard-work ethic and talent they had.
“I’m deeply humbled and very appreciative that I’m going in next to some guys who I coached against: Skip Bertman, Ron Polk, Ron Fraser, Jim Morris, Mike Martin. I’m going in with a bunch of pretty good coaches, so I feel very honored and thankful to my assistant coaches and players who helped me along the way. Coach [Eddie] Stanky most of all, because without playing for him at South Alabama — that’s where I decided to become a coach because I learned so much from him and I wanted to relay the information I learned from him and make it as much fun as he did for me.”
Joining Kittrell in the 2019 Hall of Fame class are Joe Carbone (Ohio), Gary “Bo” Collins (Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville), Ron Davini (Corona del Sol High School in Arizona), Pat Doyle (San Joaquin Delta College in California), Dave Grant (Glendale Community College in Arizona) and Scott Pickler (Cypress College in California).
A 1971 USA graduate, Kittrell still holds the program record for four-year players with a career .368 batting average. He was inducted into the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 1993, and into the Mobile Sports Hall of Fame in 2004. His No. 3 jersey was retired by South Alabama in 2016 following his retirement at USA at the conclusion of the 2011 season.
Last year, Kittrell stepped in to serve as head coach for the Spring Hill softball team just before the season got underway. He led the Badgers to an impressive 18-1 record in the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference while going 23-14 overall.
At USA, his baseball teams finished with a winning record 25 times during his tenure and won 40 or more games on 14 occasions while advancing to within one win of making a College World Series appearance in six seasons. Fourteen of his South Alabama teams ended the year ranked in the top 30 of either the Baseball America or Collegiate Baseball final polls.
He was named the region coach of the year by the ABCA twice, and was voted the SBC Coach of the Year six times in addition to being named the all-time head coach on the league’s 30th anniversary team in 2006. During his tenure, Kittrell had 22 student-athletes earn All-America honors, 41 all-region selections and 79 individuals who received all-conference honors (including five SBC Players of the Year and one Pitcher of the Year). Kittrell also coached a pair of Academic All-Americans.
More than 100 Jaguars played in the professional ranks following the conclusion of their careers under Kittrell, including 17 who would go on to reach the Major Leagues. Former Jags who played under Kittrell and achieved success in the majors include Luis Gonzalez — who provided the game-winning hit for the Arizona Diamondbacks in game seven of the 2001 World Series — and 2011 World Series and National League Championship Series Most Valuable Player David Freese, as well as All-Stars Lance Johnson and Jon Lieber.
Additionally, Juan Pierre finished 10th in voting for the National League’s MVP in 2004 while Adam Lind was 15th in the vote for the 2009 American League MVP. Marlon Anderson, Mike Mordecai and Turner Ward all played in the majors for 10 or more years.
Special youth hunt dates set
The State Lands Division of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) has announced the youth deer and duck hunt schedules for the M. Barnett Lawley Forever Wild Field Trial Area (FWFTA) in Hale County. The hunts will take place late, from November 2018 through January 2019.
Registration will close Oct. 14. Hunters will be selected by way of a computerized, random drawing after registration closes.
Registration for the FWFTA youth hunts is only available to parents or adults who are at least 21 years old and have a Conservation ID number. A hunting license is not required at the time of registration. However, if selected during the random draw, entrants must have a valid hunting license to accept the hunt permit. Those selected for a hunt will receive an email asking them to validate/accept the permit. Once the permit is accepted, they will receive an email with the hunt details.
The M. Barnett Lawley FWFTA consists of 4,300 acres in Hale County and is managed as a nature preserve and recreation area. To register for a hunt, visit publichunts.dcnr.alabama.gov during the registration period listed.
Youth deer hunt dates are Nov. 21 or 28; Dec. 1, 26 or 29; and Jan. 9, 12, 16, 19, 23 or 30.
Youth duck hunt dates are Dec. 1, 26 or 29 and Jan. 9, 12, 16, 19 or 23.
If you have questions about the hunt details or registration process, call Evan Lawrence with the ADCNR State Lands Division at 334-242-3484, or email Evan.Lawrence@dcnr.alabama.gov.
USA track team recognized
The University of South Alabama has earned the Sun Belt Conference men’s track and field 2017-18 Team GPA Award. This is the Jaguars’ fifth consecutive conference academic award.
The program earned a cumulative 3.27 GPA for the academic year, up from an overall 3.22 during the 2016-17 season. The men’s track and field team finished fourth at the indoor Sun Belt Championships in February with 76 points and tied for seventh at the outdoor conference meet after scoring 61 points. Seven Jaguars received all-conference honors at the indoor meet.
The Sun Belt issued Team GPA Awards to 10 member institutions across 16 sponsored sports.