Danny Carlisle, left, has a genuine love for his players during his 29 years as the head baseball coach at Starkville High School. (Photo by Kim Murrell, SDN)
Danny Carlisle went to check out some Mississippi State baseball on Tuesday night.
It wasn't because he had to, but because he wanted to.
Since his retirement as the head baseball coach of Starkville High School became official a couple of weeks ago, Carlisle has already taken advantage of it to do some things he enjoys.
Baseball is still at the top of that list.
"I love baseball, but you don't get an opportunity to go see it when you are coaching so my goal next year when Mississippi State starts and Starkville High School starts is to be sitting in the stands," Carlisle said. "I will try to go up to Ole Miss some and Alabama some whenever they have a home series."
Carlisle also plans to make some trips to Scooba next spring when Nick Brooks is playing at East Mississippi Community College and would like to do the same for Nathan Pugh if Pearl River Community College comes into the area for competition.
There are also some of his former players who are coaching that Carlisle would like to visit when the opportunities arise.
Also on Carlisle's list is watching his grandsons play as they continue to come up through the Starkville Baseball Association and spending more time with his wife Debbie.
"When you are coaching, it's a tough grind on your family so I'm looking forward to being with them," Carlisle said.
There are some things that are definitely not on his mind at the present time.
"Someone asked me if I wanted to umpire," Carlisle said. "Nah. As much as I've talked about them the last 35 years, they probably wouldn't let me umpire. I will say this, I do know the rules.
"Will I ever coach again? I don't know. I've turned down two coaching jobs already, one out of state and one from north mississippi. I don't think I'm ready to get back in it right now. I'm going to take a year off and see what happens. Someone asked me if I'm going to get a job. I said 'not a job, but maybe a position.' With a job, you've got to work hard and I've had a job for 35 years."
As far as right now, Carlisle said there's nothing better than being able to sit at home and watch the sun go up and down.
It's also nice for him to be able to throw a fishing line in the water from time to time.
To quote the late Don Foster, "A bad day of fishing will beat a good day of work for anyone," Carlisle said.
It was a good final season for Carlisle during his time with the Yellowjackets. They reached the third round of the Class 5A playoffs and finished with a 21-9 record.
Even though Starkville was eliminated by New Hope in two games to end its run, Carlisle believed the season was a success.
"I'm extremely proud of them," Carlisle said. "We could have played better in the New Hope series and could have hit better. Walks and errors get you in trouble and that was the series we picked to walk a bunch, but overall I can't complain. We had a lot of holes to fill when we first started and I thought the kids played extremely well.
"We hit the ball well with the exception of the last two ballgames. You have streaks and we had streaks where we played extremely well, we didn't play well, then we got on another eight-game winning streak. We ended up not driving in runners in scoring position. We figured it up in the New Hope series we were 1 for 15 with runners in scoring position so we just didn't get it done for whatever reason. We hit the ball hard right at them over at New Hope, then here we got 10 hits and score one run and they get 10 hits and score six runs, but that's baseball. We didn't bunch anything."
Despite the ups and downs of being a coach, Carlisle has already started to miss the game.
"I started missing it when the last out was made," Carlisle said.
As he reflected over his career, Carlisle said the most important things to consider were the relationships established over the years.
It's not just the friendships he's made, but watching the players as they came together as a team.
Carlisle thanked the parents and community for their support.
"When we didn't have a field, the community came together," Carlisle said. "We were fortunate to have some great parents and they put together a project and built the field.
"We had two sets of five-row bleachers when I first became head coach and now we've come a long way from that. The support that has been shown to me through it all with having stage four cancer and got on a million prayer lists. That's certainly why I'm here today. It's all been good - really, really good."
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