Drew Ferrer has missed coaching since his last gig with South Forsyth baseball in 2008, but he knew he couldn’t. When Ferrer left South the following school year to help open Lambert as athletic director, he worried that the two roles would impact the attention he could give to every sport in the Longhorns’ program.
Forces conspired to change that this summer, even if only for one season. Ferrer was named Lambert’s new baseball head coach on an interim basis after the departure of Jamie Corr, who departed to restart the baseball program at Florida SouthWestern State College after leading the Longhorns to the Class AAAAAA championship this past season.
Ferrer said Corr’s resignation came too late in the summer to conduct a proper coaching search in time for the start of school. Ferrer said Lambert principal Gary Davison asked him to take over for one season, and he couldn’t say no.
"When he came to me and said, ‘I really think this is something that’ll help our school and the program,’ of course," Ferrer said. "I’m all about this community and school and making sure we get the right person long-term."
In Corr, the Longhorns lost their only baseball coach since the school opened in 2009. He went 112-42 in five seasons with two region championships.
But Corr elevated Lambert baseball to unprecedented heights this past season. With remarkable depth and talent, the Longhorns went 36-2, won the USA Baseball Classic and finished the season ranked No. 1 in the country by the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper and USA Today. MaxPreps and USA Today named Corr as their national coach of the year.
So Ferrer inherits a team with lofty expectations, one that returns the bulk of its roster from a season ago and could enter the season ranked No. 1 in preseason national rankings.
Ferrer said that’s exactly why the school didn’t want to rush to make a hire so late in the summer.
"When you get on the level of where we are now with the season we had, I think we felt like this is a big hire," Ferrer said. "To replace Jamie and what he’s done, it was going to be a big hire for us. So we wanted to make sure we got the right fit."
Ferrer said Lambert hopes to have found that fit before winter break begins Dec. 19, almost two months before the baseball season starts.
"Whoever this person is, it’s up to them if they want to release [the news] before their baseball season or after," Ferrer said, "but we’re going to have that part done on our side."
In the meantime, Ferrer will take on the first head coaching job of his career, though he his résumé isn’t bereft of baseball experience. He played baseball at Lassiter where he was on the Trojans’ 1995 state runner-up team. He played a season of baseball at North Carolina State University under esteemed coach Ray Tanner.
He was hired as an assistant coach at South under Mike Strickland in 2002 and coached alongside Corr during his four years with the War Eagles that included a state championship appearance in 2008.
That was much of the appeal in naming Ferrer, who has been a casual presence at Longhorns games and practices during his five years at the school, as a bridge to the next coach.
"They know I coached with Jamie for several years over at South and know that it’s going to be pretty consistent," Ferrer said. "The good thing about it is I’m able to step in and be able to continue what Jamie’s done and be successful with. Once we find the right person, we can turn the program over and let them get started."