Ellis leaving Vicksburg to lead Warren Central’s softball program

Published 8:52 pm Thursday, May 4, 2023

After 10 years in Gator green, Brian Ellis will put on some Viking red.

The longtime Vicksburg High softball coach said that he has accepted an offer to go across town and lead Warren Central’s program. Ellis informed his team of his decision Thursday afternoon, and will talk to Warren Central’s players next week. Warren Central’s players were also told of the decision on Thursday.

The hire is subject to approval by the Vicksburg Warren School Board of Trustees, and will likely be voted on at its next meeting on May 25.

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“It has nothing to do with my girls. It’s about me. Everybody has a time when they feel like they’ve got to make a change and it’s my turn,” Ellis said. “I can’t specify what all it was. There’s a lot of things that weigh into a decision like this.”

Vicksburg finished its season Tuesday, with a loss to Ridgeland in the second round of the MHSAA Class 5A playoffs. Warren Central’s season ended Monday, and with it the long tenure of head coach Dana McGivney. She spent 16 years with the program and is leaving to become the head coach at Oxford High School.

“It’s been a blur, because it’s been so fast. It’s just a lot of things that went into it. It’s the right thing for me and my family,” he said. “There’s a lot of pros and cons. It wasn’t an easy decision, but when it’s all said and done it was the right decision for me.”

If he is approved by the school board, Ellis will become only the third head coach in the 23-year history of Warren Central’s fast-pitch softball program, along with McGivney and Lucy Young. He’s leaving behind a long and rich history of his own at Vicksburg High.

In 2013, Ellis spearheaded an effort to get the Missy Gators their own field. The team’s players and parents, along with a number of volunteers and city maintenance crews, worked for months to transform a dilapidated city softball field on Army Navy Drive into a true home ballpark.

“The Softball Swamp” opened in time for the 2014 fast-pitch season, and since then a new fieldhouse, batting cages, field turf and other amenities have been added. In 2018, it was named the national high school Field of the Year by the National Fast-Pitch Coaches Association and Turface Athletics.

On the field, Ellis led the Missy Gators to the first playoff series victory in the program’s history in 2015 and several region championships since then.

When weighing the pros and cons of the decision, he said leaving a place he’s put so much sweat equity into on and off the field was not easy.

“That was one of those cons,” he said. “You hope and pray everything is done in a way that helps those girls become successful … I’m proud that over the years I had a great group of girls that mad it possible. I hope it continues with whoever comes in, because that’s what it’s all about.”

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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