Berkery becomes Starkville Academy baseball coach

Thomas Berkery
Staff Writer

It did not take long for the Starkville Academy Volunteers to find the man to lead their baseball program.

The Vols have turned to someone who understands what baseball means to the city of Starkville in Thomas Berkery.

Even though Berkery does not have high school coaching experiences, he played under Ron Polk, one of the greatest coaches in college baseball, at Mississippi State, and he has been involved with the Starkville Baseball Association for many years. Berkery played for Polk and the Bulldogs from 2003-06.

“Recently having to coach these younger kids and having to explain things very simply and thoroughly is going to help communicate with these older boys and make sure they understand everything we’re looking for,” Berkery said. “With the things that coach Polk put us all through and showed us how to do, I’m going to try and use some of that stuff.”

Berkery was introduced by Starkville Academy Athletic Director Chase Nicholson to the players and parents on Monday night.

That meeting just made Berkery want to get started with the Vols even sooner.

“It’s one of those things where you wait, wait and wait and you just want to get going,” Berkery said. “That’s where I’m at right now. I’m ready to get it started. I’m just the man in the chair that’s willing to get after it with these guys.”

Berkery won’t have to wait long as the summer program gets started on June 5 with six dates and 12 games.

Starkville Academy will play all of its games on the road because the surroundings of Volunteer Field will be going through a major renovation.

That’s also something to anticipate for Berkery.

“It’s great timing with a new coach and new field,” Berkery said. “There will be a little momentum because the commitment level is at a all-time high.”

Berkery said several people have already reached out, including former teammates at MSU, to wish him luck and believe the program is in good hands.

Nicholson is among those who feel that way.

“We’re excited about him and excited about his energy,” Nicholson said. “He brings in a little bit different style with his experience throughout college and in the minors. His different contacts are going to be beneficial for the SA program.”

Berkery appreciates Nicholson and the Starkville Academy administration for giving him the opportunity to become a head coach for the first time.

He plans to be a Vol for quite some time.

“I think they know where my commitment is and where my background can take us,” Berkery said. “My son is 9-years-old so I’m committed to this school for the foreseeable future to say the least. I know that was important to them. They were awesome throughout the process.”

Berkery will coach softball as well as basebal for the Vols.