Familiar Face Back At The Pete

It has been quite a whirl wind for Todd McInnis over the past few years. In the midst of it all, the former Southern Miss starting pitcher has landed right where he has wanted to be. In this interview with the newest Eagle baseball assistant coach, he talks about what led him back home to Hattiesburg.

It seemed like just yesterday that #10 was on the mound leading the way for the Golden Eagle pitching staff. Now, he'll be leading again but with a new title.

Coach McInnis has a nice ring to it.

Coach Berry announced a few days ago that Todd McInnis would be taking over the job as volunteer assistant coach for the Golden Eagle baseball program.

For one of the most successful pitchers in Southern Miss history, the decision wasn't all that difficult.

"Well, I'll tell you, I was working out in my yard with my Dad, and I got the text from Coach Calliet telling me that they wanted me to come be on the staff," he said, in an interview with GoldenEaglePride.com.

"When I first got it, I started to get excited. He told me just to take a few days and think about it. I went and visited with the Coaches and it really was an easy decision. I was ready to come back home."

Coaching is something McInnis knew he always wanted to do, and having the opporutnity to be back at his alma mater made it all the more appealing.

"Even when I pitched back at Southern Miss I felt like a coach," he said. "I was always working with our younger pitchers and helping them out.

"I knew I was going to be a coach one day. I just didn't dream I'd have the chance to do it here with the same coaches I played for. That is what makes it so special for me.

"Not only am I back here at Southern Miss where I played, but I'm working for the guys who meant so much to me as a player. I'm ready for the challenge and excited about the opportunity."

McInnis has some great memories as a Golden Eagle. Consider his sophomore year, when he was named C-USA pitcher of the year, allowed 2 earned runs or less in 14 appearances, and the highlight was standing toe to toe with the Texas Longhorns in Omaha and the College World Series.

"I can't tell you how many memories I have of pitching here at Southern Miss," he said. "The highlight of course was our trip to the College World Series.

"That was a special team that made a run that was like unique to anything I've ever seen. I felt like we were able to put Southern Miss baseball in the national spotlight."

After his time at Southern Miss, he heard the news every baseball player dreams of hearing, his name announced in the MLB draft.

Though selected by the Oakland Athletics in the 32nd round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, it was with the St. Louis Cardinals organization that McInnis got his shot. He said his time in the minors was full of ups and downs.

"It was a dream that I've always had, to play professional baseball, so I'm thankful for the experience," he said.

"It was tough. Its a grind. You have to really fight through some things. When things are going well, you feel on top of the world, but when you are struggling, it is really tough because there aren't to many people to talk to."

One of the big benefits is the opportunity to play under a legendary pitcher.

"One team I played for Dennis Martinez was the pitching coach, and I learned a ton from him," he said. "I really enjoyed that experience and all I was able to get from working with a legend."

McInnis, a Brandon (MS) native, says his responsibilities will include being over the camps run by the program, helping Coach Fed with the pitching staff, and also coaching first base.

"I'm not to much older than these guys, so I know I'll be able to relate to them well," he said. "Coaching first base will be something new that I'm looking forward to."

He has a one day pitching camp and a one day hitting camp coming up soon.

As he gets to know this pitching staff, McInnis says he couldn't be walking into a better situation.

"There is the talent here to go a long way," he said of the staff. "I'm looking forward to working with these guys. If they can put it together, we could have one of the best staffs from top to bottom in the nation.

"I know a lot of the guys, and I'm getting to know them as I get settled in. I know we have a good mix of experience and young pitchers that can help out too. I'm ready to get started."

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