Wells Hires Gaspard as Assistant

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Long-time University of Alabama assistant coach Mitch Gaspard is returning to the Capstone to become the Crimson Tide's assistant coach and recruiting coordinator, head baseball coach Jim Wells announced today.

"He is a bright, young, energetic coach with a great passion for the game of baseball," Wells said. "He is an outstanding recruiter and teacher. Mitch was on my staff at Northwestern State and then came with me to Alabama. He is a tireless worker and is one of the main reasons that we were so successful in the early stages of building our program at Northwestern State and Alabama. I am happy that he will be associated with the Alabama program once again."

Gaspard, who spent the last six years as head coach at Northwestern (La.) State in Natchitoches, La. replaces former assistant coach Joe Raccuia, who was named head coach at Radford University on Tuesday. Gaspard worked two seasons under Wells at Northwestern State in 1993 and 1994 and at Alabama from 1995-2001.

Gaspard, 42, compiled a 211-128 (.622) record in his tenure at Northwestern State. During those six years, he led the Demons to a pair of Southland Conference championships, one SLC Tournament championship and a berth in the 2005 NCAA Baton Rouge (La.) Regional.

"Obviously, I am very excited to be back at Alabama and with Coach Wells," Gaspard said. "I have many great memories of my previous time here at Alabama with three College World Series appearances in the first five years. I have learned a lot from Coach Wells over the years and took that with me to Northwestern State. I spent six great years at NSU and gained valuable experience there as head coach. The opportunity to come back to Alabama and be with Coach Wells was just too great to pass up and I am excited and looking forward to working with the Crimson Tide and getting this team back to Omaha as quickly as we can."

In 18 years of coaching, Gaspard has worked with teams that have won eight conference championships, eight conference tournament championships, played in 14 NCAA Regionals and three College World Series.

In Gaspard's first season, he guided his team to NSU's eighth conference title in 12 seasons and the Demons finished among the nation's best in pitching and fielding while finishing 43-17 overall.

After heavy graduation losses, Gaspard and his staff blended a core of highly-regarded high school products with some good junior college talent and led the club to a fourth-place showing in the league while compiling a 35-22 overall mark.

In 2004, the Demons challenged for another SLC title before finishing second in the league. Northwestern was sixth nationally in stolen bases, 44th in the country with a team ERA of 4.11, and 26th in double plays per game and the Demons batted a robust .296. NSU (33-23) won eight of its nine SLC series, including beating SLC champ Lamar, and the Demons averaged seven runs per game. Sophomore first baseman Bobby Barbier won Academic All-America honors.

The 2005 season was another banner year for the Demons and Gaspard. Having being named the SLC's Coach of the Year, Gaspard and the Demons steamrolled through the league schedule with a remarkable 22-5 record - 41-20 overall - setting a new conference record for most league wins in a season. The Demons won the league race by six games. The team also cracked into the national polls, continuously ranking in the NCBWA Top 35 and Collegiate Baseball Top 30. As a result of its success, Northwestern State was selected as an at-large participant to the NCAA Baseball Tournament where it finished 1-2 in the Baton Rouge Regional.

Gaspard continued the tradition of great coaches at NSU, surpassing the win totals of former head coach Jim Wells (1990-95), Dave Van Horn (1996-98) and John Cohen (1999-2001), all of whom are now head coaches in the Southeastern Conference.

During his days as Wells' assistant at NSU, the Demons won SLC titles in 1993 and 1994, winning in NCAA regional play in 1994.

Gaspard was a pivotal figure as an ace recruiter and shrewd tactician in the remarkable revival of the Crimson Tide. Alabama had four SEC wins in 1994, but after Wells and Gaspard arrived, the Tide won the SEC Tournament in 1995 and were one win away from the College World Series. By the time Gaspard returned to NSU, Alabama had earned six NCAA Regional appearances and three College World Series berths, including a national championship game loss to LSU in 1997.

In each of his seven seasons at Alabama, Gaspard molded the Tide into one of nation's finest defensive units. Alabama set numerous school records and ranked among the nation's Top 10 fielding teams twice in his tenure.

Gaspard was the chief recruiter for Alabama. In each of his first five seasons, Alabama ranked among the nation's top 20 recruiting classes, including three straight Top 10 recruiting classes, according to Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball.

Gaspard, an all-state shortstop at Port Arthur-Jefferson who led his team to the Texas state title, was the starting second baseman in 1985 for the first Skip Bertman-coached LSU team that advanced to NCAA Regional play. He played his final two collegiate seasons as a starter at second for the University of Houston, where he became an assistant coach in 1988. He moved to Louisiana-Lafayette from 1989-92, helping the Ragin' Cajuns reach three NCAA Regionals and win three conference titles.

Gaspard and his wife, Kim, have two daughters, Brae (14) and Paeton (10).

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