Chad Caillet | Assistant Coach / Hitting
Chad Caillet enters his eighth year as an assistant coach for the Southern Miss baseball program. Caillet's duties include serving as the team's recruiting coordinator and working with the Golden Eagle offense and infield defense.
During his tenure, the program has seen great success on both offense and defense. The team has broken five single-season offensive records - runs scored (516), RBI (478), batting average (.324), hit batsmen (101) and on-base percentage (.422) - while leading the country in double plays turned in three consecutive seasons (83 - 2009; 84 - 2010; 81 - 2011). The Golden Eagles have also finished first in the country in double plays per game, including the 2010 and 2011 seasons, while most recently collecting the crown in 2013, while finishing fourth overall in double plays turned.
The Golden Eagle assistant coach has proven his abilities to recruit as evidenced by some of the classes that he has brought in that has sparked national interest.
Caillet landed the No. 3 recruiting class in 2012 by Baseball America and No. 13 by Collegiate Baseball, marking the highest class he has assembled in his time with the program.
In his first season as recruiting coordinator in 2009, he landed the nation's No. 23 ranked class, marking the first time the Golden Eagles ever pulled in a nationally-ranked class. In his second season, he reeled in the nation's No. 21 ranked class for 2010.
In his first eight seasons as an assistant coach he has helped lead Southern Miss to four NCAA Regionals, one NCAA Super Regional and the 2009 College World Series.
Since coming into the program, Caillet has overseen the recruitment of five different players who have earned All-American recognition and one other who was named an Academic All-American. The All-Americans include Mason Robbins and Bradley Roney, who each earned All-Freshman honors following the 2012 campaign, while Jared Bales was a Freshman honoree in 2011. B.A. Vollmuth earned All-America honors in 2010 and Freshman accolades in 2009, while Bo Davis got an All-America nod and Kameron Brunty tallied Freshman honors in 2009. Marc Bourgeois collected Academic All-America honors in 2011, becoming the first Golden Eagle to reach that accomplishment since 2009.
In all, Caillet has coached five different infielder to seven Conference USA honors, including four first-team selections and three second-team picks. His double-honorees included B.A. Vollmuth, who earned first team honors in both 2010 and 2011, and current Minnesota Twin Brian Dozier, collected second-team honors in both 2008 and 2009.
Caillet, who came to Southern Miss after spending a brief stint at McNeese State, was an assistant coach at Southeastern Louisiana University for the 2006 and 2007 seasons. His responsibilities there included the hitters and infielders, while also having the role of recruiting coordinator for the program. His 2006 and 2007 signing classes were recognized nationally.
Prior to working at SLU, Caillet spent four years at Meridian Community College, including one season as the head coach. During his lone year at the helm of that program, Caillet led his team to a 44-14 record, including a perfect mark in home games. The squad won both the MACJC State and Central Division championships and advanced to regional play. That team also garnered a Top 10 national junior college ranking and Caillet earned MACJC Coach of the Year honors.
As an assistant coach at MCC, he was part of a staff that won two Region 23 Championships and made two straight Junior College World Series appearances. Both of those teams were nationally ranked in the Top 10.
His coaching stops also included a year at Mississippi College and Millsaps College, which came after Caillet got his start with a year-long stint at Copiah-Lincoln Community College. His coaching resume also includes two summers in the Cotton States League. His second summer was in the role of manager for the Meridian Marauders, which won its first league championship.
As a player, he was an all-district infielder at Hahnville High in Louisiana and went on to play for Copiah-Lincoln, before finishing his career at Southern Miss as an infielder under coach Hill Denson. He earned both his Bachelor's degree (1998) and his Master's degree (2000) from Southern Miss. Caillet is married to the former Jessica Compretta of Bay St. Louis, Miss., and they have a daughter, Carsyn, and a son, Coby.
Michael Federico | Assistant Coach / Pitching
For Southern Miss assistant baseball coach Michael Federico, his roots with the Golden Eagle program run deep.
He was a player for the Golden Eagles under Hill Denson from 1995-97 and became a graduate assistant coach under Corky Palmer during the 1998-99 seasons, helping the Golden Eagles to an NCAA Regional in the latter of his two years in that role.
After stops at Meridian Community College and the University of Memphis, Federico returned to his alma mater and now begins his sixth season as the school's pitching coach.
In just five short seasons, Federico has mentored players to six first-team All-Conference USA selections and three to earn second-team honors. His pitchers have garnered a share of four league individual awards as Todd McInnis was named the Pitcher of the Year in the league in both 2010 and 2011, while Golden Eagle starter Andrew Pierce earned Newcomer of the Year honors. Mason Robbins, a multiple-position player who spent much of the year on the mound for Southern Miss, also was named Freshman of the Year in the league in 2012.
During McInnis' run to the league's top pitcher in 2011, the right hander was also named All-American giving Federico his first player to be crowned with this achievement.
Last spring, Federico had two Golden Eagles earn second team All-Conference USA honors as Conor Fisk collected the honor as a starting pitcher, while Bradley Roney collected the nod as the reliever.
After his initial stint at Southern Miss, Federico became an assistant coach under Scott Berry at Meridian Community College in 2000, a team that played in the JUCO World Series. At MCC, Federico not only worked with Berry but with current Golden Eagle assistant coach Chad Caillet, who served as Federico's top assistant at MCC from 2002-04, the three-year period during which Federico served as MCC skipper. While head coach at MCC, Federico was a two-time Junior College Coach of the Year honoree. In 2003 and 2004, he led his squad to the JUCO World Series in Grand Junction, Colo.
Federico led MCC to a 46-14 finish and a ninth-place finish in the JUCO World Series in 2004. Several of his players received accolades following the 2004 season, as two players were named as All-Americans, four players received All-Region 23 honors, and nine Eagles were voted to the All-State team. Federico was named Region XXIII and Southeastern District Coach of the Year.
In 2003, he led the Eagles to a fifth-place finish in the Alpine Bank JUCO World Series in Grand Junction, Colo. The Eagles also won the MACJC Central Division, Region XXIII and Southeastern Regional Championships. Federico was honored with Region XXIII and Southeastern District Coach of the Year accolades for his accomplishments in 2003.
Before taking over as head coach, Federico served as the assistant coach for two years, working with pitchers and catchers. As an assistant, he helped lead the Eagles to two conference championships, one region championship, one sectional championship and a trip to the 2000 JUCO World Series.
After leaving Meridian in 2004, Federico coached against Southern Miss as the top assistant at Conference USA foe Memphis for five seasons (2005-2009), where he was in charge of the Tigers' pitching staff, worked with catchers and led the Tigers recruiting efforts.
Under Federico's coaching, the Tiger pitching staff improved in his first two years then, despite an influx of injuries to its starting pitching rotation, earned a berth in the 2007 NCAA Tournament, the Tigers' first appearance since 1994.
MCC marked Federico's first coaching job following his two-year stint as graduate assistant at Southern Miss. In 1999, his last year with the Golden Eagles, he helped the Golden Eagles to the NCAA Southeast Regional, in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Federico played catcher at Southern Miss from 1995-97, serving as the team captain his senior year. He started his collegiate career at Hinds Community College (1993-95), where he was the starting catcher and helped his teams to back-to-back Division II World Series appearances.
Federico received both his undergraduate degree in physical education (1998), and his master's degree in sports administration (1999) from Southern Miss.
A native of Slidell, La., Federico attended Pope John Paul II High School, where he was the starting catcher for four years. During this time, he was named All-State, All-District, All-Metro and team captain. Federico is married to the former Hannah Sosa of Bush, La., who is also a Southern Miss graduate (1999) and former Golden Eagle Diamond Darling. The couple has two sons, Hayden and Brycen, and a daughter, Isabella.
Damon Lessler | Assistant Coach / Coordinator of Camps
Damon Lessler begins his first season as an assistant coach/coordinator of camps for the Golden Eagle program.
Lessler comes to Southern Miss after spending the last three years at Chico State in California. At Chico State, he served as infield and defensive coach, while also focusing on hitting and base running instruction. In addition, he acted as the program's recruitment coordinator.
Last season, Lessler helped guide Chico State to a 43-15 record and the NCAA Division II College World Series as the team ranked first in Division II in overall fielding percentage at .977. He coached and mentored Cody Slader, who was named the Rawlings Division II Defensive Player of the Year.
During his first season at Chico State, the Wildcats compiled a 37-18 record in 2013 and reached the NCAA Championship Tournament West Region finals.
Prior to joining the Chico State, Lessler spent a year as assistant coach at Oakland (Mich.) University. Serving as the Golden Grizzlies' catching coach and assistant recruiting coordinator in 2012 while contributing hitting, infield and base running instructor, he helped Oakland University set a school record for winning percentage (.714). Lessler also served as associate head coach of the Bellingham (Wash.) Bells of the summer collegiate West Coast League.
Lessler has logged considerable time serving as a head baseball coach for various teams in the Bay Area of California. While working on his master's degree at Southern Miss, he was a graduate assistant for the school's Human Performance Department and assisted with camps under then Golden Eagle coaches Corky Palmer and Lane Burroughs, as well as current head coach Scott Berry.
As a player, Lessler was a star infielder at Castro Valley High School before going on to play collegiately at Mesa (Ariz.) Community College, Sonoma State and Mississippi Valley State. He played several years of professional baseball, including stints with the Sioux Falls Canaries, Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks and the Winnipeg Goldeyes of the American Association and the Frontier League's Traverse City Beach Bums. Lessler also played abroad in Germany, Sweden and Australia as an imported American professional player.
Lessler received his bachelor's degree in mass communications from Mississippi Valley State in 2006, earning valedictorian honors, before obtaining a master's degree in sports administration from Southern Miss in 2008.
Michael Shields | Coordinator of Baseball Operations
Michael Shields begins his fifth season overall with the Golden Eagle baseball program and third in a full-time capacity as the school's Coordinator of Baseball Operations.
Shields duties include organizing the team's travel, fund raising including being the liaison between the baseball program and its booster club, "The Dugout Club," as well as assisting in all Golden Eagle camps and on-campus recruiting.
The West Monroe, La., native is a 2010 ULM graduate in marketing and also holds a pair of masters' degrees from Southern Miss in both Business Administration and Sport Management. During his days as a student at ULM, Shields was the student equipment manager for the Warhawk baseball team for five seasons.