Hopkins returns to lead Kossuth baseball

Kossuth knows precisely what it’s getting in Trave Hopkins, and vice versa.

He coached the Aggies to the Class 3A baseball championship in 2014. Now Hopkins is back, having received school board approval Monday to once again lead the Kossuth program.

He replaces Garison Lathrop, who was 66-19 over three seasons. The Aggies went 23-4 this year and lost in the second round of the 3A playoffs to East Webster.

Hopkins, 42, was Kossuth’s head coach for the 2014 and ’15 seasons.

“I still tell stories of those teams at Kossuth. That’s a great place to be,” he said.

Hopkins left Kossuth to be head coach at Clinton, where he went 75-40 in five years. He has spent the past four seasons at Denham Springs – one of the largest schools in Louisiana – including the last three as head coach. His teams went 53-47.

Denham Springs is the state’s second-largest school by enrollment. The baseball program recently got a new facility as part of a $13 million athletic facilities expansion.

Clinton is a member of Class 7A, Mississippi’s largest classification. Hopkins said working at such large schools proved beneficial.

“I’ve been really blessed to be at two programs where I could go places and get educated by some very smart people that are professionals in the business,” he said. “And the game speed’s pretty fast, so you start learning some stuff that works, that you wouldn’t have necessarily tried before.”

But a decade after leaving Kossuth, Hopkins felt drawn to return. He’s a native of Walnut and a graduate of Ripley High School. His wife is from Ripley and has a lot of family in Northeast Mississippi.

It also helps that Hopkins knows exactly what to expect at Kossuth.

“They’re bred to play football and baseball from the time they’re little bitty. They’re hard-nosed, and they don’t quit,” Hopkins said. “That’s a really good recipe for winning. As long as you’ve got your discipline and your work ethic, that usually pays off in the end.”