Auburn, Ala.--New Auburn Tigers head baseball coach Butch Thompson wasted little time making a splash hire for his staff as longtime Kentucky assistant and current Baseball America/American Baseball Coaches Association Assistant Coach of the Year Brad Bohannon was named to the staff on Tuesday.
“As I started the process of putting the staff together, I knew I wanted to begin to construct the identity of what our program will look like,” Thompson said. “I am looking for men who are above reproach and who are going to be builders of men. On top of that, my goal with Brad’s hire was to bring in an experienced SEC field coach and also the best recruiter in America and I think we accomplished both.
“It is my hope that everyone at Auburn University will join me in recognizing that we hired one of the best assistants in the country. This hire speaks volumes about Auburn’s commitment to baseball. There isn’t a program in the country that wouldn’t be excited to hire Brad Bohannon.”
A 12-year assistant at Kentucky and one of the main guys responsible for the best run in school history for the program, Bohannon is known as one of college baseball’s top recruiters and it has shown with the production in the Kentucky program since his time there.
“I’m really excited to be at Auburn,” Bohannon said. “This is a special place and a special opportunity. Having been in the league for 12 years, I have a really good idea of who Butch Thompson is as a person and as a coach. When it all comes down to it, it’s all about the people you work with and I’m working with a good one and I’m excited to be at Auburn.”
In his 12 seasons the Wildcats had 68 players drafted, including five off last year’s team. A year earlier A.J. Reed was named the national player of the year by every major publication and was drafted 42nd overall by the Houston Astros.
Bohannon's 2013 crop of talent had a total of 15 players that had been drafted in their careers, the second-most in the SEC (Vanderbilt - 18), and ahead of Florida and South Carolina (12). In addition, Bohannon sent nine of his 2013 players to either the Cape Cod League or the USA National Team, tied for the NCAA lead.
Bohannon had a big hand in turning around a Kentucky program that was the first SEC team ever to go from `worst-to-first' in one year, claiming the school's first SEC Title in 2006. The 2006 campaign saw the Wildcats win a school-record 44 games and host the school's first NCAA Regional Tournament. The 2007 club finished with 34 wins and the 2008 club totaled 44-wins and an appearance in the Ann Arbor NCAA Regional Championship game.
Most recently the Wildcats set a school record with 45 wins in 2012 and the first SEC Championship in school history.
During his time at Kentucky the Wildcats have had the No. 4 recruiting class in the country in 2008 and the No. 6 six class in 2009. In 2006 class was No. 21, the 2007 class was No. 31 and the 2010 group was rated 16th. His 2012 newcomer group was ranked No. 25 and included the first consensus freshman All-America selections in program history, Austin Cousino and Reed.
The 2013 crop of newcomers on the UK roster was ranked No. 11 by Collegiate Baseball. Bohannon's 2014 class earned a No. 25 national ranking by Baseball America and his 2015 group was tabbed as the 14th-best in the nation by Collegiate Baseball.
In addition to his recruiting prowess Bohannon works with the hitters and outfielders, a role he’s expected to continue at Auburn.
A native of Rome, Ga., Bohannon worked at Wake Forest for two seasons before his time at Kentucky. He worked with John Cohen at Kentucky from 2004-08 before being retained by Gary Henderson.