Doug Shanks, former Mississippi Valley State baseball coach, dies

Published 2:52 pm Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Doug Shanks, a one-time politician who had a long and successful second career as a baseball coach in Mississippi, has died.

Shanks’ son Fred Shanks, a state representative from Brandon, announced in a Facebook post that he had been diagnosed with lymphoma in August and died from complications of chemo toxicity.

Doug Shanks’ first career was in city politics in Jackson. He was the spokesman for the City of Jackson in the 1970s, and then was elected city commissioner in 1973. In that role he oversaw Jackson’s police department, fire department and sanitation department.

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Shanks was instrumental in the rise of the Mississippi Republican Party in the 1970s, as well as bringing minor league baseball to the city with the Jackson Mets. He ran for mayor of Jackson twice, in 1977 and 1981, but lost to Dale Danks both times.

Eventually, Shanks moved on to sports and became one of the best-known baseball coaches in Mississippi. He coached teams at every level from Babe Ruth to college.

Shanks had head coaching stints at University Christian and Central Hinds Academy, and was most recently the pitching coach at Hartfield Academy in Flowood. He won three MAIS baseball championships at University Christian and was the association’s Coach of the Year in 1996, 1997 and 1998.

He also started the Jackson 96ers, a traveling all-star team that is regarded as one of the top teams of its kind in the state.
He also was the head coach at Mississippi Valley State University from 2000 to 2015. His 2004 team won a school-record 35 games. The Delta Devils won five Southwestern Athletic Conference East Division championships during his tenure and finished as the runner-up in the conference tournament three times.

Shanks is a member of the Mississippi Diamond Club Hall of Fame.

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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