BRISTOL, Tenn. – Jamie Corr lead his team to the ultimate goal, a state championship and picked up some individual hardware in the process. Corr is a 1996 graduate of King College, now King University, and was member of a successful Tornado baseball program. That foundation led Corr into coaching where he was recently named 2014 American Family Insurance Coach of the Year by USA Today.
Starting a program from nothing is never easy, and Corr was tasked with starting the baseball program at Lambert High School in Suwanee, Ga., just five short years ago. He said some of the biggest challenges with starting a program are the basic things.
"Getting everything off the ground, from basic things such as ordering uniforms and building bullpens to establishing policies and protocols on how they were going to run the program," Corr stated.
The first year, Corr led Lambert to a 17-9 record, and a playoff berth to get the ball rolling. This season, just five years later, all the hard work paid off as Corr lead the Longhorns to a 36-2 record and a Georgia AAAAA state title and the school's first-ever No. 1 ranking in the Super 25 baseball rankings.
"It was very rewarding for the coaches, players, administration and community, because we all worked as one to achieve that common goal," Corr continued.
Many of the values Corr instills in his program started when he was a student at King. He states his coaches and professors helped push him to reach his full potential, a quality he tries to teach every player he coaches.
"My coaches and professors at King taught me dedication in the classroom, the desire to compete on the field and the discipline it takes in all aspects of your life, which is what it takes to build a first class program."
A couple professors that made the biggest impact on Corr are Dr. Karen Rohr and Carolyn Brown.
"Both Dr. Karen Rohr and Carolyn Brown were very influential during my college years because they taught me to never settle for second best. Push yourself as hard as you can, not only on the playing field, but in the classroom because you owe it to yourself to always do your best," said Corr. "It's something I try to instill in every player I coach."
Corr started his career in baseball at East Bay High School in Gibsonton, Fla., before starting his college career at Edison Community College in Fort Myers, Fla. After one season at Edison, he found his way to King where he was a shortstop for the Tornado from 1994-96, playing for coaches John Verbal and Danny Burnett.
"We were good; we made a couple deep runs in the conference tournament," Corr stated about the Tornado teams he played on.
Upon graduation, Corr wanted to pursue his master's, leading him to Valdosta State University where he was a graduate assistant sports information department until earning his master's in Physical Education in 1998. Along with his sports information duties, he got his start in coaching, learning under Blazer head coach Tommy Thomas. Corr then earned his first assistant coaching job at Augusta State University, now Georgia Regents University, under head coach Skip Fite before Corr earned his first head coaching job.
The head coaching job brought him home to Tampa, Fla., at Riverview High School, where he received vital head coaching experience for two years. After three years as an assistant at Darton State College in Albany, Ga., he went to South Forsyth High School as their head coach. When South Forsyth High School grew too big and had to split into two schools, Corr started the baseball program Lambert High School in 2009.
In his career, Corr has an overall record of 335-157 while going 112-45 in five years at Lambert. All of this success has led Corr to another challenge as he was recently named head coach at Florida SouthWestern State College, formerly Edison Community College. He will face the challenge of resurrecting a program that has been inactive for the last 17 years.
"The main difference in restarting a college program is of course going out and finding your players. High school supplies you with the main ingredient, which are your players. In college you have to go out and convince 30 young men to come to try to start something with you from scratch."
"It's the thrill of a lifetime that I know a lot of coaches don't' ever get is the chance to go back and coach at your alma mater," added Corr.