T.J. Beam is one of three former players taking on a new role with the Ole Miss Baseball program this season.
OXFORD, Miss. – A trio of former Ole Miss players, who have all had an impact on the growth and rise to prominence of Rebel baseball on the national level previously, are now assuming new roles or returning to work with the program for the 2013 season.
T.J. Beam, Stephen Head and Fuller Smith will all be taking on new roles with the Rebels for the upcoming season.
Smith moves from the position of Director of Baseball Operations to the position of volunteer assistant coach, allowing him to move back to the field and coach the team. Head moves from the position of student assistant to an administrative intern, while Beam will return to the program as a student assistant.
“We’re excited to have all three of these guys associated with our program and back working with Ole Miss baseball,” said head coach Mike Bianco. “Having the opportunity to bring someone back to work with the program they played for and have invested so much in is a great one. It’s especially exciting when you consider the experience these guys have, from playing on the professional level and as coaches and former players.”
Smith spent the last two seasons working as the program’s Director of Baseball Operations after spending a year as the volunteer assistant coach at Texas-Arlington for the 2010 season. During his time at UT-Arlington, Smith served as the team’s first base coach, hitting instructor and outfield coach.
Over the past two seasons as the Director of Operations, Smith has been responsible for many of the day-to-day functions of the Ole Miss baseball program. With the move to the volunteer assistant position, Smith will be resuming coaching responsibilities and begin working with the players in a teaching capacity again.
“I’m ecstatic to be able to move back to the field,” Smith said. “It’s a dream come true to be able to coach baseball at my alma mater. I love this place with all my heart and love being able to put everything I have into this program every day. It’s my dream to be able to work with these guys and help get them to Omaha.”
Head, who moves into the position of an administrative intern, spent the last season as a student assistant with the Rebels. In his position as an administrative intern, head will assume many of the duties handled by Smith the past two seasons.
A three-time All-American at Ole Miss from 2003-2005, Head spent six years playing professional baseball – five with the Cleveland Indians organization and one with the Colorado Rockies organization before returning to Oxford for the 2012 season.
“I’m very excited about the opportunity to continue to work with my alma mater,” Head said. “There’s no better place to start than with a job in the Southeastern Conference – at the top of the food chain when it comes to collegiate baseball. It’s a place and a program I have a great passion for and pride in.”
Beam, who played for the Rebels from 2002-03, was a part of the first group of recruits of the Bianco era and helped Ole Miss kick-off a streak of nine consecutive post-season appearances. He was drafted in the 10th round by the New York Yankees, kicking-off a professional career for the last nine years. Beam made his Major League debut in the 2006 season with the Yankees and has played professionally as a part of the New York Yankees, Pittsburgh, Toronto and Arizona organizations.
The former Major League pitcher returns to Ole Miss to complete his degree and work with the Rebels as a student assistant.
“I made a promise to Coach Bianco when I was here as a player that I would graduate and I was going to be a part of getting to Omaha and make it to the Major Leagues,” Beam said. “I’ve been a part of making it to the Major Leagues, now I have the chance to kill the other two birds with one stone by getting my degree and helping Ole Miss make it to the College World Series as a student assistant.
“I also wanted to be a pitching coach and there is no one better to learn that from than Coach Bianco,” Beam continued. “The opportunity came up to come back and work with the program and keep my promise to him to get my degree and give back to the city of Oxford and Ole Miss family that supported me so much when I was a player here.”