Photo courtesy of ovcsports.com
By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor
Jacksonville State University assistant baseball coach and 2002 Southside High School graduate Evan Bush (pictured above) recently was honored by the Alabama Baseball Coaches Association at the organization’s annual awards banquet in Birmingham.
Bush, who has been with the JSU baseball program since 2016, was named the ALABCA’s 2019 Large College Division Assistant Coach of the Year.
Bush has orchestrated one of the top offenses in the Ohio Valley Conference in four seasons on head coach Jim Case’s staff. In Bush’s first season at JSU in 2016, the program led the nation in doubles with a program-record 145 doubles. He mentored JSU’s all-time career hits leader, Clayton Daniel from 2015-2018. Daniel established a new career hits mark with 330 total hits in a career that saw him achieve All-OVC honors every season as a Gamecock. In 2019, JSU claimed an NCAA Division I era record for win with 39 wins and won the league title and the OVC Tournament crown. JSU notched its first win in an NCAA Division I Regional by eliminating Illinois and reached the Oxford (Miss.) Regional Championship round after dispatching Clemson.
As a junior at Southside, Bush helped the 201 Panthers win the Class 5A state championship. Bush pitched and played shortstop, first base, second base and third base that season.
“When I strike up a conversation, there’s still people who’ll say that was about the best high school baseball team they’ve ever seen,” said Bush in a 2018 interview with The Messenger. “It was a pretty close-knit group, and I still keep in contact with a lot of those guys, like Tyler Driskell and Eric West and Cole Helms.”
Bush said that then-SHS head baseball coach Scott Calhoun had a right personality to coach that particular team.
“He was really good at keeping everything steady and making sure we did the right thing. He did a great job of molding us into good players and good people. Most of us had been playing since we were freshmen or sophomores, so it was a group of guys that really had its priorities straight. We put in the work and got rewarded for it.”
After a senior season in which he batted .395 along with 29 RBI, 22 runs scored, 10 home runs, Bush signed a scholarship with the University of Alabama. As a four-year regular utility player for the Crimson Tide, he ranks second in career walks, fifth in games started and seventh in games played. As a senior in 2006, Bush helped lead Alabama to the Southeastern Conference championship and a second-straight NCAA Tournament appearance.
Bush was drafted in the 48th round by San Francisco Giants in 2006 and spent the 2006 season playing for Class A Salem-Keizer and Triple A Fresno.
After his year as a graduate at Alabama, Bush three years as an assistant coach at Bevill State Community College in Fayette, where he was honored by Alabama Baseball Coaches Association as the state’s top junior college assistant coach in 2010. He then spent six seasons at Alabama-Huntsville.
While at UAH, Bush was instrumental in building the Chargers in to one of the top teams in both the Gulf South Conference and NCAA Division II. The 2015 UAH team was ranked in the top 25 nationally for the duration of the season and led the conference with a .339 batting average, 409 runs, 108 doubles, 63 homers, 376 RBI, a .544 slugging percentage and a .433 on-base percentage. With Bush handling recruiting activities, UAH produced 30 All-Conference players.
This article was supplemented by ovcsports.com