Larry Nesbitt was named this past week as the Tennessean All-Midstate Baseball Coach of the Year for directing Christ Presbyterian Academy team to the Class AA state championship in the TSSAA. The Lions did not lose in the tournament and capped a 32-10 season with a 2-1 win over Knoxville Catholic for the title. Since the award Nesbitt has been getting attention from the local sports media. He spent some time talking with Lipscombsports.com about his honor as well as his time as a Bisons baseball player.
What years did you play at Lipscomb? Who were your coaches?
"I came to Lipscomb in 1997 and played from 1998 season through 2001. My major was history/teaching.
"Mel Brown was my coach for the first three years. Carmen Brown was the assistant coach. Wynn Fletcher was the head coach my senior year."
Were you surprised to be named the Mid-South High School Baseball Coach of the Year?
"You are always surprised to get an achievement as a coach because you are not the one who is going out there and playing the game. It helps when you have players who are very, very competitive and hold each other accountable. To win an award like that just means I was part of a special program and just happened to be the head coach."
As a high school baseball coach what do you hope you can teach your players both on and off of the field?
"I don't know if there is anything in particular that I want them to learn from me. But I can tell you what I want for their lives.
"I want them to love the Lord. I want them to be at peace with themselves and love their neighbor. I want to help create self-aware men who understand they can be mighty, might men of God."
Why did you choose to attend Lipscomb?
"I started attending Lipscomb in preschool. It was a no-brainer for me to go to college there. I enjoyed my experiences there in high school. When I got the phone call from Coach Brown it was an immediate `yes' that I wanted to go to school there."
What is your fondest athletic memory at Lipscomb?
"The last series of my senior year I was fortunate enough to throw a no-hitter versus Berry College. The things that stick out to me about that were being able to celebrate with my catcher, Miguel Ramirez, and some of my really good buddies like second baseman Jeremy George, Scotty Dyer and my roommate, Jason Gray. That was a really special moment.
"The bus trips and the road trips were also special. It was great to be able to spend time with guys you really cared about."
Who had the biggest influence on you during your athletic career at Lipscomb? How?
"Coach Brown definitely turned me into a man. I came in pretty green. He turned me into a pretty good baseball player. He was a very tough man. It took about a solid two years for him to start to appreciate you as a player. Once he did start to appreciate you it meant a lot.
"He was proud of you when he felt like he had turned you into a man. He would talk about it. Compliments from him meant a whole lot. When they did come it would be a good two-or-three minute compliment in front of the whole team.
"I was also influenced by the solid guys I played alongside. My best friend was Brandon O'Neal and you can't get a more solid person than him. Guys like Josh Willeford and Jeremy George had a really strong faith background. To walk along beside those guys was special."
What is your fondest non-athletic memory from your time at Lipscomb?
"I also got my master's degree in education there. I stayed after graduating to complete my master's.
"I took a class called "The Master Teacher". Dr. Earl Lavender and Dr. Richard Jones team taught this class where they looked at the teachings of Jesus and how he was such a good teacher. The class had a profound impact on my life."
What is the most valuable thing you gained or learned from your time at Lipscomb?
"I would have to go back to the Master Teacher class. It is the power of walking with the Lord. I left class one day with a very real feeling I was walking with Christ Jesus.
"I think a lot of it was the teaching by Dr. Lavender and Dr. Jones. I am not sure what happened that day or what triggered it. Looking back on it obviously it was the Holy Spirit at work. I just remember walking out of class and realizing Jesus had become real for me."
Who was your favorite professor? Why?
"Dr. Mary Morris. She was a professor who would always go out of her way to help her students. I had her class in the spring and had to deal with her a lot on the phone and meet with her quite a bit to stay on top of things. She definitely loved what she did. There is no doubt about it.
"The spring was always tough. But the professors helped a lot."
What was it like to be named the first Ken Dugan Award winner?
"I was in the first group of players not to be recruited by Coach Dugan. Growing up, I went to his camps. I heard a ton of stories about him. I did not know him personally.
"The award means a lot more to me with each year that passes. To get it the first year was an honor, but as a young person I was really not sure what it meant at the time. Looking back you realized you were recognized as a person who upheld the characteristics of a solid baseball philosophy. I want to uphold the same principles of Coach Dugan even now."
Where do you live?
Who is your employer? What is your occupation? What does your position entail?
"I am the baseball coach at CPA. I also teach psychology."
Tell us about your family.
"My wife, Joanie (Wade) graduated from Lipscomb the same year I did. We met our freshman year and ended up having some education classes together our senior year. We started dating then.
"We have two daughters. Reesi is 11 and Elye is six."
My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.