There are many people who have made their mark on Tallahasseeby impacting the community and creating a legacy around change – one such name being added to the list of difference makers is Jamey Shouppe, who is transforming the community around sports, one baseball team at a time.
Shouppe was raised in Gadsden County’s Chattahoochee, and as a small-town kid, he played many sports including basketball and football.
His love for baseball outshone the other sports he played, and he continued to play through high school.
After graduating from high school, Shouppe played baseball for two years at Wallace Community College in Alabama, until he was signed on to the Florida State University team.
Shouppe’s love for baseball brought him to the organization of Major League Baseball (MLB), where he was drafted by the Houston Astros in 1982; he was an eighth round pick, and he played four seasons with the team.
During his time with the Astros, Shouppe says he not only learned how to perfect his craft, but also an invaluable lesson on teamwork.
“You learn to get along with all kinds of people from all different countries and all different backgrounds…you learn your culture is not the only culture,” Shouppe said. “And so those are the lessons that bode well not only in coaching but in life as well.”
After four years of playing in the Minor Leagues, Shouppe went back to Florida State University to play with the Tallahassee-based team – but not as an athlete.
Returning to Tallahassee, Shouppe took on the job of the university’s baseball recruiting coordinator, a role he held for 21 years as he sought about finding the next baseball superstars for the university.
Under his tenure, the university’s baseball team had 10 teams that went to the College World Series, and Shouppe believes that one of his greatest accomplishments was being able to put teams together who were able to win awards and play well together.
Shouppe made such an impact at Florida State University, that Florida A&M University wanted him to coach their team.
This would be Shouppe’s first time as head coach of a team.
At the time, the Florida A&M University baseball program was down, and the team had never won any major titles – Shouppe wanted the chance to rebuild the program, and during his first year as coach, the team set an National Collegiate Athletic Association record for biggest turnaround after winning 28 ballgames.
In his eight years as head coach at Florida A&M University, the team has won the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference game twice and competed in the National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament for the first time in school history.
Shouppe was able to put Florida A&M University’s baseball team “on the map” and he says he is very proud of that.
“The biggest thing was just the genuine love at Florida A&M University that people have,” Shouppe said. “Everyone is friendly and it was a hungry situation. Everybody was hungry to get the baseball program turned around and headed in the right direction.”
For Shouppe, the most important thing was not the amount of wins the team had. He wanted to make sure the players left the team disciplined young men.
He wants to instill hard work and dedication in them so they can be successful on and off the field.
“I have learned more about treating young men the right way because a lot of times we see them as kids and it’s our job to help them grow up to be responsible young men,” Shouppe said. “The wins are still important but there are things that are more important than just wins, and that’s teaching these young men to win in life.”
Shouppe says he wants to continue working with the Florida A&M University baseball team and improve the program even more.
He plans on coaching for the next six to seven years, and wants the team to compete at an even higher level.
His contributions to Tallahassee universities have helped boys grow to men, and he is not ready to stop any time soon.
“It’s a little more special when you are able to be in a program and attempt to accomplish things that have never been accomplished before,” Shouppe said. “I would like to finish out my career at Florida A&M University, and again accomplish some more firsts for the baseball team.”
Dejania Oliver – Gadsden County News Service