|Organization:||Delta State University (MS)|
Dave "Boo" Ferriss is a Boston Red Sox Hall of Famer and legendary baseball coach of the Delta State University Statesmen. Ferriss retired from coaching following the completion of the 1988 season.
The Shaw, Mississippi, native spent 46 years in baseball on the collegiate and professional levels, including 26 seasons at Delta State. A legend in national collegiate baseball coaching circles, Ferriss compiled a 639-387-8 (.618) record at Delta State. At the time, his coaching record ranked among the all-time national leaders at the NCAA Div. II level for victories.
When Ferriss took over the baseball program in 1960, he literally had to begin in the dirt. The Statesmen played many of their games off campus due to a lack of a quality facility and Ferriss coached without the benefit of an assistant. Over the next three decades, Ferriss turned the meager program into a national power – directing the Statesmen to the NCAA Div. II playoffs in eight of his last 12 years, including three trips to the NCAA Div. II championships, where they finished third, second and third respectively in 1977, 1978 and 1982.
Gulf South Conference championships came in 1978, '79, '85 and '88, with the Statesmen finishing second in 1981 and third in 1982. Forty-nine of his players earned All-Gulf South Conference honors and academics were always at the forefront of his teaching style, as 95% of his players went on to earn their degrees.
With the victories came accolades, as Ferriss reaped the rewards for his on-field successes. In 1988, he received the United States Baseball Federation Service Award for his contributions to the game. He was named NCAA South Region Coach of the Year three times, while also earning Gulf South Conference Coach of the Year on three occasions.
In 1978 and 1982, Ferriss was selected as College Baseball Coach of the Year in Mississippi and was runner-up in that category in 1985 after his team held the No. 1 ranking in the nation for several weeks in the NCAA Div. II poll.
Under his direction, 20 Statesmen earned All-American honors and 23 continued their baseball careers on the professional level. Academic honors also came, as 20 Statesmen received Academic All-American honors.
In addition to his DSU coaching duties, Ferriss also served at various intervals as Director of Athletics and Director of the Delta State University Foundation.
A graduate of Mississippi State, Ferriss signed with the Boston Red Sox after his junior year in Starkville. The hard-throwing right-hander broke into professional baseball in 1942 with Greensboro (N.C.) of the Piedmont League.
After serving in our nation's military, Ferriss joined the Boston Red Sox in 1945, spending 10 years in the organization, five years as a pitcher and five years as pitching coach. Following a 21-10 record in 1945, Ferriss was named "Rookie of the Year" and became the first pitcher to defeat each American League team the first time he faced them, while winning his first two major league starts by shutout.
In 1946, Ferriss was the American League's number one pitcher with a 25-6 record and he pitched the Red Sox to a 4-0 victory in game two over the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1946 World Series.
Ferriss closed his major league career with a 65-30 record. At the time, he held several major league records that included most consecutive home wins (13) in 1946.
In 1989, Ferriss was inducted into the Delta State University Sports Hall of Fame and is also a member of the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and the Mississippi State University Sports Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the Mississippi Semi-Pro Baseball Hall of Fame in 1981.
In 2002, the Boston Red Sox inducted Ferriss into their Hall of Fame at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts.
The Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame announced in 2003 that it would be sponsoring a "Mississippi Collegiate Baseball Player of the Year" award and the trophy would bear the name and likeness of Dave "Boo" Ferriss.
Delta State honored Ferriss in the fall of 2015 with a statue, designed by renowned sculptor Dr. Kim Sessums, commemorating his legacy as the patriarch of the program.