Slater, who worked for six years as an assistant to former Auburn head coach Hal Baird, has head coaching experience at VMI. He left that college after the 2003 season after three years as head coach to become an assistant at the University of Florida to Pat McMahon.
Baird was put in charge of conducting a search to replace Steve Renfroe, who was fired following four seasons as head coach. The job was first offered to Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin, who decided to remain in Nashville. Slater worked with Renfroe as an assistant at AU.
"Tom Slater has established himself as one of the top assistants in the SEC and country," says Baird, who is the athletic asssistant to the president. "As an assistant, he was a part of five championships at two SEC programs. As a head coach he took over a moribund program and within three years, established a school record for overall and conference wins as well as earning Coach of the Year honors. He is a great addition to the Auburn athletic family."
Slater's record at VMI was 50-100 overall and 25-60 in the Southern Conference. His final team there set a school record for victories in a single season with 25 and conference victories with 16 as the Keydets finished 25-27 overall and 16-14. He was named the Southern Conference Coach of the Year in 2003.
"I am extremely excited to be returning to Auburn," Slater says. "I am looking forward to coaching what I believe is one of the best baseball programs in the country. I am confident of our ability to consistently achieve a high level of success. I can't wait to get started."
At VMI, Slater, who is 36 years old, coached Kelly Sweppenhiser, who became VMI's first freshman All-American baseball player. The 2003 VMI team also had three players selected in Major League Baseball Amateur draft, which was the most in a single draft in school history.
"We are excited that Coach Slater has chosen to join us here at Auburn as head baseball coach," says AU Interim President Ed Richardson, the man who made the decision to fire Renfroe against the recommendations of Baird. "He has experience with the Auburn program and in the Southeastern Conference, both of which should serve him well in getting our baseball program where it needs to be."
Slater, who is a 1990 graduate of VMI, began his college coaching career in 1992 at Marshall and then coached in 1993-94 at VMI before moving to Auburn where he coached for Baird from 1995-2000. His first overall coaching job was as an assistant at St. Christopher's School in Richmond, Va., in 1992.
Slater was a four-year starter as a third baseman at VMI. At Auburn, his duties included recruiting, coaching the defense and the outfielders.
At Auburn, he coached in the 1997 College World Series and was part of the 1998 team that won the SEC Tournament and the 1999 team that was a NCAA Regional winner. In his first season at Auburn, 1995, the Tigers won the SEC West.
Slater is married to the former Beth Tani of Fairfax, Va., and they have a daugther Julia and a son Jack.