DENHAM SPRINGS – Denham Springs’ Mark Carroll didn’t have the updated total, but it was still a proud moment for the long-time Yellow Jackets baseball coach.
Carroll’s now able to count former player and one-year assistant coach Rickey Noland as a member of his coaching tree, after Noland accepted an offer Friday to become the head baseball coach at Mandeville High.
“The timing’s hard with school about to start, but you’re happy for him,” Carroll said. “That was obviously something he wanted in his career and that was to be a head coach. Rickey played for me and I love him to death. There’s no doubt he’ll do a great job there.”
The 32-year-old Noland takes over for Mark Weinmunson, who recently resigned after five seasons with the Skippers.
“I’ve had people tell me to take it slower; learn as much as you can, and I’ve bought into that,” Noland said. “They said to try around the 2A and 3A schools and turn those programs around and turn that into a bigger job.
“I didn’t think that was a bad idea,” Noland said. “I just figured when this job came open and had some people ask me if I was interested, I said absolutely. I told the principal (Bruce Bundy) I was interested and not looking to go anywhere else. I’m looking to find a place to stay, plant some roots and coach there as long they allow me.”
Noland earned All-State catching honors while at Denham Springs, playing for three years at under Carroll before signing with LSU-Eunice and finishing his career at Delta State.
Noland was an all-region player and was a member of LSU-Eunice’s 2006 NJCAA Division II World Championship team. He enjoyed a decorated two years at Delta State – earning the conference’s Player of the Year in 2008, All-American honors and was named a Rawlings Gold Glove winner in ’07.
He signed as a free agent with the St. Louis Cardinals organization where he spent two seasons.
“We have a great relationship,” Noland said of Carroll. “I learned so much the one year with him. This is one big thing I’ll utilize now as a head coach; he gave every assistant a job. I worked with the hitters and got to specialize and worked with the catchers. With the assistants, he made sure everyone felt like they were a part of it. That they had a role and you accepted it and did the best with what you were assigned.”
Roland had a different recollection of Mandeville’s program than the one he’s inheriting.
He recalled a game during his senior year where Denham Springs rolled off 16 wins to start the season and were easily handled a double-digit defeat against a visiting Mandeville team.
“I told Carroll that I was shocked Mandeville was more on the downslope than when I played against them,” Noland said. “We were loaded with four All-Staters my senior year. We had 11 of our 13 seasons that went on to play college and three were drafted. We thought we were going to absolutely destroy them and they put it on us 14-2 or something like that.”
Mandeville stopped a five-year stretch without postseason play in 2018 with a 21-9 record following a 6-0 loss to Dutchtown in the opening round of the Class 5A state playoffs.
Prior to that the Skippers had endured a 45-100 record over in their previous five seasons.
“You have to be willing to put the time and effort into making it a consistent winner and I know he’ll do that,” Carroll said of Noland. “He’s got a real good personality. All our kids loved him, and they’ll do the same thing over there. He’ll do good because he’ll work and put in the time.”
Noland spent eight of his nine years coaching in Mississippi where after graduating from Delta State, he spent two years at his alma mater. He coached Ocean Springs High for six years and returned to Denham Springs which went 21-15, advancing to the Class 5A state regional round.
“We worked so well together,” Noland said of the 2018 season with Carroll. “We had a really special relationship, one that I’ll truly miss and value.”