Mark Flournoy (middle) signs his college scholarship to Southwest Tennessee College as his mother, Deborah Flournoy, and school’s head coach George Sykes look on.
HAMPTON — Mark Flournoy, Jr.’s decision to leave the friendly confines of his home state for college was neither about experiencing life outside of Georgia or a give-in to peer pressure.
But when Flournoy signed his letter of commitment to play college baseball at Southwest Tennessee College, it was more of a business decision for him.
“It wasn’t an anxious or bittersweet thing,” Flournoy said. “It’s kind of far from home; it’s about six or seven hours away and my mom kind of doesn’t want me going that far from home, but I’m looking at it as I’ve got to do what I’ve got to do.”
In other words, Southwest Tennessee was the best fit for Flournoy. He chose the Memphis school over offers from East Georgia State and Georgia Highlands. He said Southwest Tennessee was so much a total package for him, that it was hard to single out one or two deciding factors.
“I’ve liked the coaching staff from the beginning,” he said. “And how the head coach always stayed in contact. Then I went up there and I just liked the school, the players, just everything interested me more there.”
And as for his parents? Though the sale may have been a bit tough because of the distance, the Lovejoy High graduate said everyone in the Flournoy house is on board with his decision.
“They respect my decision, and my mom supports me all the way,” he said. “It’s very important for me to have their support. When I get my parents behind my back, it helps me to perform well.”
Performing well was seldom a problem for Flournoy during his four years in Lovejoy coach Craig Chatman’s program. Flournoy is a four-year letterman — something Chatman said isn’t very common anymore — who started for the Wildcats at first base as a freshman when Lovejoy won just nine games. His role — and the Wildcats’ wins — increased over the years, as he also spent time at second and third base, and was a stalwart at catcher.
“Mark’s got a good skill set,” Chatman said. “He’s got a really strong arm. He can play multiple positions. He can hit. There’s a lot of things he can do. I don’t know exactly where [Southwest Tennessee] has him slated to play, but he’ll catch their eye pretty quick.
“I’m very happy for Mark and for his mom and dad,” Chatman said. “I’ve known Mark’s whole family. His sisters and everybody has been through Lovejoy. It’s kind of a legacy thing for him.”
Flournoy, Under Armour All American Alumni, inked his letter of commitment to play with the Memphis, Tenn. school Saturday morning at his home.
Flournoy received all-County honors for the second straight year after posting a .301 batting average to accompany his 31 RBIs.