Kimbrel named EMCC baseball coach

The widely respected 30-year coaching veteran replaces Chris Rose, who recently resigned after serving as the Lions’ head baseball coach for the past eight years.
By: 
For Daily Times Leader

East Mississippi Community College has announced the promotion of coaching veteran Brett Kimbrel to the position of head baseball coach.  The announcement was made Tuesday by EMCC Director of Athletics Dr. Randall Bradberry.

Kimbrel’s promotion comes after having spent the past two seasons as an assistant baseball coach at EMCC.  The widely respected 30-year coaching veteran replaces Chris Rose, who recently resigned after serving as the Lions’ head baseball coach for the past eight years. 

“First and foremost, I want to give God the glory for this incredible opportunity to be the head baseball coach here at East Mississippi Community College,” Kimbrel said.  “I’d like to thank (EMCC President) Dr. (Rick) Young and (EMCC Director of Athletics) Dr. (Randall) Bradberry for placing their trust in me to guide this program at an institution with such rich tradition in excellence both on and off the field.”

“I have complete confidence that Coach Kimbrel will do an outstanding job of moving our baseball program forward here at East Mississippi Community College,” noted EMCC Director of Athletics Dr. Randall Bradberry.  “Brett is a dedicated, hard-working baseball man with tremendous recruiting skills and respected coaching talents.”

Having brought his vast baseball knowledge and dedicated experience within the Alabama community college system to EMCC in 2016, Kimbrel previously spent 12 successful seasons as an assistant coach on Bobby Sprowl’s Shelton State Community College baseball staff.  While Kimbrel served as the team’s primary hitting instructor, the Bucs maintained a .300 team batting average throughout his stint at the Tuscaloosa-based school.  In addition to working with six NJCAA All-Americans, Kimbrel helped tutor 22 players who signed with SEC schools as well as 13 Major League Draft selections, including at least one MLB Draft pick during nine of the dozen years he was with the Buccaneers.

Kimbrel also helped Shelton State win at a 65-percent clip with four NJCAA Division I College World Series appearances, including a national runner-up finish in 2008, as a result of an impressive run that also earned four Alabama Community College Conference state championships within a six-year span.

“The future of EMCC baseball is very bright,” Kimbrel continued.  “With the talented group of sophomores we have returning combined with our highly touted incoming freshman class, the excitement and energy levels are off the charts.”      

Kimbrel’s association with Sprowl began when Shelton State’s veteran head coach and the now-retired Troy University head baseball coach Bobby Pierce were assistant coaches on Barry Shollenberger’s University of Alabama staff in the early-1990s.  Kimbrel had previously received his first coaching job on Pierce’s Chipola Junior College staff a decade earlier and was invited to continue his education as a student assistant for the Crimson Tide during the 1991 and 1992 seasons.

Following his valuable SEC experience with the Tide, Kimbrel remained in the Tuscaloosa area coaching in the high school ranks.  He became the assistant head baseball coach at Tuscaloosa Academy before moving over to Holt High School as an assistant coach for the baseball and football teams.  Kimbrel then took a break from coaching and worked in sales for five years until he was welcomed back onto the baseball diamond as Sprowl’s assistant coach at Shelton State in 2004.

A native Floridian and 1982 Cocoa High School graduate, Kimbrel was privileged to spend two separate coaching stints under Pierce at Chipola Junior College in Marianna.  As his coaching career was getting started, Kimbrel also gained valuable head coaching experience in his home state by guiding the 1988 Grand Ridge High School team to a school-first appearance in the state playoffs.

Having had the proud distinction of coaching with two Alabama Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Famers and University of Alabama All-Century Team members in Sprowl and Pierce, Kimbrel was recognized as the 2008 ALABCA Assistant Coach of the Year when Shelton State went 49-19 and finished as national junior college runners-up to Grayson County (Texas) in Grand Junction, Colo.

Kimbrel is the father of two sons, Brett and Blake.

Rose, who was hired at East Mississippi in 2010 after spending the previous five seasons as head baseball coach at Meridian Community College, compiled an eight-year EMCC coaching record of 172-184.  During his tenure on the Scooba campus, he guided the Lions to an MACJC North Division championship in 2014 followed by an MACJC state runner-up finish and NJCAA Region 23 tournament appearance the next year. 

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