Carlisle respected among coaches from all over state

Travis Garner, Danny Carlisle, Wes Johnson

Sports Editor

Mark Monaghan wishes he could have one more conversation with him.

The head baseball coach at DeSoto Central High School leaned on Danny Carlisle, his former coach at Starkville High School, so much for advice that he hoped their visits would never come to an end.

When Monaghan heard about the passing of Carlisle on Wednesday, his first thought was that the person "that meant the world " was no longer with him.

One of the true giants of baseball in Starkville and the state of Mississippi passed away on Wednesday morning at age 65 from a long battle with cancer.

Carlisle was being remembered on Wednesday as a man who loved baseball, the city of Starkville and the state of Mississippi.

Monaghan said that Carlisle was always trying to encourage him in coaching and how to handle situations.

"When you talked to him, it was never about him," Monaghan said. "He cared and wanted to know what was going on in your life. The things and experiences that I'm going through now in coaching, he did for 29 years."

Carlisle spent 35 years in the Starkville public school system and 29 of those as the head baseball coach of the Starkville High School Yellow Jackets.

As a highly successful head coach, who won over 500 games, Carlisle led the Jackets to three state championships in 1986, 1987 and 1991.

Monaghan played for Carlisle in the 90s and followed in his footsteps as a state championship coach.

"I don't know if I would have continued coaching if it wasn't for him," Monaghan said. "Things have changed since I played. Everything about what we do has changed so much, but having him to lean on when you are going through certain things, he would say just keep doing what you love to do, coach the kids and love the kids. He has a way to put everything into perspective."

East Webster baseball coach Wes Johnson shared some time with Carlisle within the last week.

Even though Johnson could tell that Carlisle was not feeling well, that was not the focus.

"He never let on that he was not doing so good, but I could tell that he wasn't," Johnson said. "I took over his summer classes out at Mississippi State. This past summer we rode around a good bit. He was one of a kind."

Carlisle was visible on the local and state level over the years trying to support and improve the sport that he loved.

The Executive Director of Mississippi Association of Coaches Johnny Mims called Carlisle "one of our best" coaches.

"He was a well-respected and always supported the MAC," Mims said. "It's just a sad day for our coaches and a sad day for Mississippi coaches to lose such a quality person like him that not only loved his school, but also loved his players. You just can't say anything bad about him."

Mississippi High School Activities Association Executive Director Dr. Don Hinton saw Carlisle's devotion and what baseball meant to him first hand.

"I knew him pretty well just because he was so involved," Hinton said. "Even in the last years when he wasn't even coaching, he would come to our district meetings. He would always come to me and bring something new to my attention to make baseball better. He stayed in it and stayed with it. He was very passionate about that and the school where he was."

Carlisle was a 1971 graduate of Starkville High School and earned a degree from Mississippi State.

At the end of Carlisle's tenure as baseball coach of the Jackets, he was honored by the administration and Danny Carlisle Day was held on March 24, 2012. The baseball stadium was named Danny Carlisle Stadium.

"It's hard to be a legend in your own time, but coach Carlisle was definitely one of the legends," SHS Athletic Director Cheyenne Trussell said. "I've known coach Carlisle for years and I had the great opportunity to meet him and share time with him during the last baseball season. He was the same each and every day. On behalf of the Jacket Nation family, we are thankful for his dedication, time and service to the program."

Many former players benefitted from the teaching and leadership of Carlisle on and off the field.

Parents trusted him with their sons and knew he would take care of them.

Jimmy Abraham had three sons (Jim, Jace and Josh) that played for Carlisle and they all became close in their time together.

"He was like a second father to them and they knew he loved them just as he loved all his players," Abraham said. "We have lost an irreplaceable Yellow Jacket legend and outstanding person."

Funeral arrangements for Carlisle had not been finalized at press time.