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Jackson city official, former Mississippi Valley State baseball coach passes away

Doug Shanks
Doug Shanks (Photo courtesy of MVSU Athletics)

Former Jackson city official and longtime baseball coach Doug Shanks passed away on Monday.

State Rep. Fred Shanks, R-Brandon, took to social media to announce that his father had been diagnosed with lymphoma months ago and passed away due to complications of chemo toxicity.

As a politician, Doug served as spokesman for the city of Jackson and the city’s first Republican commissioner. Shanks oversaw the city’s police department, fire department, and sanitation department and was known to give Black applicants an opportunity to hold an occupation within those departments.

As city commissioner, Doug was able to pursue his passion for baseball by bringing the minor league Jackson Mets, a New York Mets affiliate, to the capital city in 1974. Minor league baseball continued to be played in Jackson’s Smith Wills Stadium until 2005 when the Mississippi Braves organization was established at Trustmark Park in Pearl.

Shanks also served as head baseball coach at Mississippi Valley State University for 14 seasons. The baseball field had been condemned by the city of Itta Bena when he arrived. By the time Shanks left the position, the team had a new stadium built. The skipper’s last stop in baseball was a role as an assistant at Hartfield Academy in Flowood.

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