Former Lion to coach Southern baseball

Today, Missouri Southern Director of Athletics Sallie Beard announced Southern alumnus and Webb City High School baseball coach Bryce Darnell would be the third head coach in Southern baseball history. “We received over 100 applicants for the position,” Beard said. “We are confident that Bryce will help make Missouri Southern baseball the tradition it once was.”While at Webb City, Darnell’s teams have won the last two Missouri Class 3 state championships. He has a 160-43 career record at Webb City. He was the Joplin Globe Coach of the Year in 2002 and 2005, as well as being named Missouri Class 3 Coach of the Year in 2005 and 2006. Darnell played for Southern for three years from 1994-1996. His fielding percentage of .996 (one error) in 1995 is still second all time for a Southern player. Darnell earned his degree in secondary education from Southern in 1997.Darnell, who coached at Webb City for the last eight years, told a brief story during the press conference.”The superintendent at Webb City once asked me, ‘Do you like your job?’ To which I responded, ‘I like my job very much, there is only one that I would rather have,” he said. That job, as Darnell explained, is coaching Southern baseball.Darnell fielded questions about personnel, tentative plans for a stadium and the focus of recruiting. “Our immediate concern this off-season is pitching,” Darnell said.As a team last season, the Lions had a collective ERA of 7.33.Senior pitcher Nick Tuck was a member of the selection committee that hired Darnell. “His energy and passion for the job stood out to me,” Tuck said. “I look forward to the change next year. Coach (Warren) Turner was a great coach but we’re excited about the change.”Darnell succeeds Turner, who retired after 31 years, 852 wins and two NCAA Division II College World Series appearances.”Warren Turner,” Darnell said. ” A guy I have a tremendous amount of respect for.”