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Southern Miss Baseball Coach Corky Palmer Set to Retire at End of Season

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

Year School Record Highlights
1979 Lee HS 12-12 
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
1984 Columbia HS 17-10 
1985 *Southern Miss 28-41 
1986 *Southern Miss 31-30 First of 15 Straight Winning Seasons
1987 Meridian CC 19-27 
1988 Meridian CC 38-12 
1989 Meridian CC 46-14 
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
1997 *Southern Miss 34-23 
1998 Southern Miss 30-28 
1999 Southern Miss 40-23 NCAA Sub-Regionals/Best home record in school history
(27-3)/Highest-ever home winning percentage (.900)
2000 Southern Miss 32-26
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
2009 Southern Miss 27-17 

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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