Huntsville High School

There will be a new face leading the Huntsville Hornets from the dugout when the 2020 season gets underway.

Huntsville athletics director Rodney Southern revealed to The Item on Wednesday that he has hired Justin Jennings to replace Jackson Hood as the Hornets’ head baseball coach.

Jennings arrives from Sherman High School, where he had been on the staff since 2013 and served as the head coach for the past four seasons. Among the highlights during his tenure at the helm of the program was a bi-district championship in 2017.

“I called several people that have played in that district with him,” Southern said. “They told me in so many words that he's done more with less than a lot of the people in their district. To me, that's where we are with our baseball program. We have to do more with what we have.”

Jennings, who played collegiately at Hutchinson (Kansas) Community College, brings with him a wealth of experience. Prior to his first head coaching job at Ashdown High School in Arkansas, Jennings coached at Clark University, Peru State College and East Texas Baptist University.

The Hornets are looking to make a turnaround after winning just one District 20-5A game in each of the past two seasons — and Southern firmly believes his new hire is the man for the job.

“I interviewed him three weeks ago and really liked him,” Southern said. “We probably talked for 30 minutes, and I just kind of had a feeling. Talking to people who know him, they know what he's done on the baseball field.

“Every coach I ever hire, I ask them to describe in detail what a daily practice is going to look like. Surprisingly, a lot of head coaches can't tell you that. He put it in detail. … I knew then that unless somebody came in and knocked my socks off, he was the guy.”