Vicksburg High baseball coach Calvin is stepping down

Published 12:48 pm Tuesday, May 9, 2023

Antonio Calvin is giving up ball for the law.

Calvin announced he is stepping down after five seasons as Vicksburg High’s baseball coach and leaving the teaching profession to pursue a law degree.

“That’s something I’ve had in the back of my mind. My wife encouraged me. My cousin encouraged me,” Calvin said. “I wasn’t going to go at first, but once those (LSAT) scores came back and those offers came in, and I took a few visits, it was like, ‘Wow, this is where I’m supposed to be.’ It was one of those things that found me, similar to coaching.”

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Calvin, a Vicksburg native and 2001 VHS graduate, has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in sociology and criminology from Jackson State University and an agriculture degree from Alcorn State. The 40-year-old said a mix of timing, a tough season, and a calling to do something different led him to the decision to pivot toward a new career.

“This year was a pretty trying year. Though we had all of the right ingredients we just never could get the mixture exactly right. There were some things we could not control, too,” Calvin said. “But the Lord just spoke to me. I have a bachelor’s and master’s degree in this stuff. I worked in the federal government a tad bit with it. Now He’s just blessed me with the opportunity to go to law school.”

Calvin came to Vicksburg High from Greenville in 2018 and revived a struggling program. The Gators did not win more than 10 games in a season from 2014-21, then won 37 games and back-to-back region championships in 2022 and 2023.

Calvin finished his tenure at Vicksburg with a 59-49 overall record, including a 37-20 mark the past two seasons. He was The Vicksburg Post’s baseball Coach of the Year in 2022.

Calvin’s tenure also saw the renovation of Vicksburg High’s on-campus baseball stadium, Showers Field, and several other facilities upgrades following the school bond issue that was passed in 2018. Vicksburg had used Showers Field for practice and played games at Bazinsky Field for more than 20 years. It started playing games at Showers again in 2022.

“This was really about leaving it better than I found it,” Calvin said. “Those guys were averaging three or four wins a season before we got here. Every year after our first year we’ve been in double digits. We’ve had our ups and our downs.”

Calvin credited a number of people for helping in Vicksburg’s baseball revival, from tournament team coaches who laid a foundation for his players, to players’ parents, school administrators and his assistant coaches.

He had some special praise for his players as well. More than a dozen of them signed with college programs during his five years at VHS, including a couple that landed on Division I rosters.

“Those guys listened. They ate up everything that we fed them and tried to teach them,” Calvin said. “With the ability they had, we put our best foot forward and as you can see we’re a respectable ballclub again. Because of that, we’re just grateful.”

As Calvin heads out the door, he said he was proud of the job he did at his alma mater and feels he accomplished his mission of leaving it in a better place than when he came in.

“I’m going to miss it a lot. I almost wanted to turn around. It’s one thing to get thrown out on your face. It’s another thing to walk away,” he said. “Me being able to walk away and leave it in a position that’s much better than I found it, that’s the sweet part about it. But the bitter part about it is, after 15 years, starting to make a pivot in my career and every day routine.”

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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