April 30, 2009
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Southern Miss baseball coach Corky Palmer announced Thursday that he is retiring as head baseball coach, effective at the end of the season.
Palmer will continue to work with the athletics department in a part-time role in an effort to raise money for not only the baseball program, but other projects as assigned by athletics director Richard Giannini.
"I want to be the first to congratulate Corky on his retirement and compliment him on the outstanding record he has complied as the head coach of Southern Miss baseball for the past 12 years," said Giannini. "Corky will go down in the record books as one of the most successful coaches in any sport at Southern Miss. More importantly, is the quality, integrity and character of this man. He has been a great mentor and friend to countless student-athletes, assistant baseball coaches, other sports coaches and administrative staff members."
Palmer, who has compiled a 445-272 record as the top coach for the Southern Miss baseball program over the last 12 seasons, has led the Golden Eagles to seven NCAA tournament appearances including a current streak of six straight berths. His win total at the school ranks second-best on the school's all-time victory chart. Palmer ascended to the top job for the Golden Eagles in 1998, replacing long-time head coach Hill Denson.
The Hattiesburg, Miss., native finishes his 31st year of coaching this spring and has made stops at the prep level at Lee (1979-80) and Columbia High Schools (1983-84) before moving on to Southern Miss as an assistant coach for two seasons (1985-86).
Palmer then accepted his first collegiate head coaching job at Meridian (Miss.) Community College, where he oversaw a program that tallied a 409-160 mark over 10 seasons (1987-1996) and included five Miss-Lou Conference Championships and four Region 23 titles. His teams went to the Junior College World Series three times and the club was national runners-up in his final season in 1996.
He returned to his alma mater in 1997 as an assistant coach and the team went 34-23 that season before taking over the program the next year. The Golden Eagles have gone on to record 10 winning seasons over his tenure as head coach and have won 40 or more games in five of those campaigns, including a school-best 47 wins in 2003. That 2003 team also captured the C-USA tournament crown and for his efforts he was named the league's and region's Coach of the Year.
Over his time at Southern Miss, Palmer has coached 11 players to All-America honors, 10 Freshman All-Americans and four Academic All-Americans, as well as 19 players that have been drafted and gone on to professional baseball. He had four C-USA Scholar-Athletes of the Year.
Other accomplishments for Palmer during his time as head coach include hosting the school's first baseball postseason regional, many improvements to Pete Taylor Park/Hill Denson Field including the recent addition of the press box and suites, a public recognition last spring by the NCAA as his team enjoyed a top 10 percent ranking of all of Division I baseball programs in Academic Progress Rates.
"The mark by Corky on Southern Miss baseball and our entire athletics program will be felt for a long, long time," Giannini said. "His legacy includes six consecutive NCAA appearances and the involvement in over $4.5 million in improvements to Pete Taylor Park, which included a clubhouse and office complex, a new press box and suites, an upgraded scoreboard and numerous other improvements to the complex. We are also happy that Corky will remain active as a part-time member of our staff and will continue to help raise funds to insure the quality of success for our baseball program."
Palmer is a member of both the Southern Miss Alumni Association and M-Club Sports Hall of Fames. He was inducted into the M-Club Hall of Fame and the Alumni Association Hall of Fame in 2006.
Palmer, and his wife of 33 years, Debbie, will continue to reside in the Hattiesburg area.
Carlton Devan "Corky" Palmer Playing and Coaching History
Hattiesburg High School 1970-72
Southern Miss 1973-77
|1980||Lee HS||15-7||Little 10 Conference Champs|
|1981||Lee HS||17-7||Little 10 Conference Champs|
|1982||Lee HS||21-7||Little 10 Conference Champs|
|1983||Columbia HS||20-9||South State Champs|
|1986||*Southern Miss||31-30||First of 15 Straight Winning Seasons|
|1990||Meridian CC||40-21||Miss-Lou Conference Champs|
|1991||Meridian CC||38-17||Miss-Lou Conference Champs|
|1992||Meridian CC||48-15||Miss-Lou/Region 23 Champs|
|1993||Meridian CC||45-10||Region 23/East District Champs|
|1994||Meridian CC||48-14||Miss-Lou/Region 23/South Central District Champs|
|1995||Meridian CC||37-18||Miss-Lou Conference Champs|
|1996||Meridian CC||50-12||Region 23/South Central Champs/National Runner-up|
|1999||Southern Miss||40-23||NCAA Sub-Regionals/Best home record in school history|
|(27-3)/Highest-ever home winning percentage (.900)|
|2001||Southern Miss||27-32||C-USA Tournament "Final Four"|
|2002||Southern Miss||36-22||C-USA Regular Season Fourth Place|
|2003||Southern Miss||47-16||C-USA Regular Season and Tournament Champions/|
|NCAA Hattiesburg Regional Runner-Up/Keith LeClair|
|Conference USA Coach of the Year/ABCA/Diamond Sports|
|Company South Region Coach of the Year|
|2004||Southern Miss||45-19||C-USA Regular Season - Tied for Second Place/C-USA|
|Tournament Runner-up/NCAA Tournament - Baton Rouge|
|Regional/Nationally Ranked For 15 Weeks, including a school record|
|No. 11 ranking, highest in the program's history|
|2005||Southern Miss||41-21||C-USA Regular Season - Tied for Second Place/C-USA Final|
|Four/NCAA Tournament-Oxford Regional|
|2006||Southern Miss||39-23||NCAA Tournament-Tuscaloosa Regional|
|2007||Southern Miss||39-23||NCAA Tournament- Oxford Regional|
|2008||Southern Miss||42-22||NCAA Tournament- Baton Rouge Regional|
High School Record: 102- 52 (.662)
Junior College Record: 409-160 (.719)
*Southern Miss Record (Assistant): 93-94 (.497)
Southern Miss Record (Head Coach): 445-272 (.621)
Overall Record as Head Coach: 950-484 (.662)
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