By Emma Williams
Oxford High School’s Chase Goolsby is making the transition from assistant baseball coach to assistant principal at Bramlett Elementary School.
Coach Chase Goolsby began his baseball coaching career at Oxford High School in the spring of 2007. Now, his last season of being an assistant coach has sadly been cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As a kid, Goolbsy’s favorite player was Ken Griffey Jr., who played for the Seattle Mariners and the Cincinnati Reds (although after witnessing Griffey treat children poorly at age 13, Goolsby stopped idolizing him).
Ironically, Goolsby played baseball for Lafayette County High School, one of Oxford’s biggest rivals. Unlike others in the Oxford-Lafayette community, he has never seen the rivalry as a big deal.
When he got to Ole Miss and started taking accounting courses, he decided that he did not want to be an accountant, mainly because he did not want to be stuck inside all the time. This prompted him to call his former coach at Lafayette, Richy Harrelson, to discuss the pathway for becoming a coach. He remembers Coach Harrelson’s best advice being that he should volunteer anywhere besides his former school.
“I started volunteering at Oxford High School to see if I liked it,” Goolsby said. “I started coming out there that fall with them, and I changed my major to Education, and I knew then I enjoyed being around the kids and enjoyed being around the game. I wanted to be a baseball coach.”
His favorite team to play against when he was a coach was the New Hope Trojans because both teams were so skilled and competitive.
“From the fans, it was great. Many people could say we hated each other, but most of our kids got along with them,” Goolsby said. “That week was always hate week, but they have great coaches, and they did things differently than we did at Oxford.”
Goolsby remembers the moment the Oxford baseball team realized it would not play a normal season 2020. The team was coming home from playing in a spring break tournament as they tuned in to watch President Trump address the nation concerning the virus. They were all left speechless. One minute they were about to start division play, and the next the entire country was shutting down for weeks at a time.
“It was tough because I have been with those kids for like six to seven years, and I was hoping we would come back. I texted each kid individually and told them how much I loved them and how much I missed them,” Goolsby said.
In his 13 years as a coach, Goolsby has witnessed the team celebrate two state championships back to back and go from Class 5A to 6A. He has also seen players go to Division 1 schools and get drafted into Major League Baseball like Grae Kessinger and Thomas Dillard.
Now, Goolsby has chosen to seek an assistant principal position at Bramlett Elementary School in order to spend more time with his wife and two daughters. He wants to see his daughters grow up, and coaching has made that difficult since coaches frequently spend a lot of time away from home.
Just like Coach Harrelson had an impact on Coach Goolsby’s future, over 500 other young people have been impacted by Coach Goolsby.
Goolsby looks forward to continuing his impact on young lives (and in the case of Bramlett, quite a bit younger).
“The kids here and the teachers here have been so welcoming and loving,” Goolsby said. “I miss the people at the high school, and I miss my students and getting to know them on a personal level.”