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WATER VALLEY – After coaching baseball at Water Valley High School for 11 years, Coach Jeb Lee accepted a job at his alma mater. Lee is returning to his home county as head coach at Magee High School, moving back to where his parents and other family members reside.
The move comes after Lee’s Blue Devils recorded strong back-to-back 20-plus win seasons, ending the 2022 season with a 23 – 7 record in the third round of playoff action. The coach came to Water Valley High School in 2011 and was tapped as head coach in 2016.
“It it bittersweet, you hate to leave the place you have called home for over a decade. It is not easy leaving our jobs, the community and our church,” Lee explained. “And as hard as it is to leave the community and friends, leaving my players is one of the toughest things I have ever had to do,” Lee told the Herald.
He broke the news to the players in the locker room the last week of school.
“We had a meeting and I thanked them for everything they have done for me. I told them that their hard work and success has allowed me to go back home. They have given me a lot more than I have ever given them,” Lee shared.
His wife, Alice Lee, has worked as the dietitian for Yalobusha Health Services since 2014. Their family grew during the time in Water Valley with two daughters, Julie Anne and Sadie.
“It was very hard to accept the job and leave Water Valley, even to go back home,” Lee reported Monday as he was headed south after a weekend of packing. He has already made several trips during the transition, getting reacquainted with old friends and meeting school administrators and players after being gone for 20 years
“You wonder who remembers you after all those years. Coming back 20 years later, people are hugging your neck and telling stories they remember. You don’t realize the impression you make on people as a teenager, lifetime impressions,” Lee added.
He also said it has been nice to drop off his daughters with his parents.
“You can’t put a price on being close to family. If we learned anything during Covid, we need to appreciate those around us and the family members we have,” the coach explained.
Lee shared that his final game as coach at Water Valley High School will always be remember. The Water Valley Blue Devils were notched with the Booneville Blue Devils in the third round of playoffs with a game each. Although Booneville prevailed in the third game, 3-1, the game was not a disappointment for over 500 fans who watched two great teams battle to advance in the playoffs.
“Water Valley is one of the greatest atmospheres that I have ever been a part of,” Lee explained about the players and fans. “That Monday night game in the third round magnified what Water Valley baseball and the community has meant to me.”