"We are excited to have one of the outstanding young coaches in the country join Auburn University and the Auburn baseball family," Slater says. "Matt has done a tremendous job building the UNC-Asheville baseball program and we are thrilled to add a Division I head coach to our staff."
Slater, a former Auburn assistant coach to Hal Baird, was named head coach at Auburn in June replacing Steve Renfroe. AU interim president Dr. Ed Richardson fired Renfroe and replaced him with Slater, who was an assistant coach at the University of Florida last season. Prior to that, Slater was head coach at Virginia Military Institute, his alma mater.
Slater has now completed his full-time coaching staff with Chris Finwood staying with the program.
One of the youngest Division I head coaches in the country at 29 years old for the 2004 season, Myers led UNC-Asheville to a school-record 27 overall victories and a tie for second in the Big South Conference in 2003. Under Myers, the Bulldogs finished in the top half of the Big South Conference each of the last three seasons, including a school-record 13 conference wins in 2004.
Last season, the Bulldogs posted two victories over nationally-ranked teams, including a 2-1 win at Florida State. The coach's overall record in four seasons at UNCA was 88-125 and 40-44 in the Big South.
This past season, one of UNCA's pitchers, David Williams, was named a Freshman All-American by Collegiate Baseball. Three other UNCA pitchers he coached earned that honor.
Two of the 2004 UNCA players were selected in the Major League Baseball Draft this June with right-handed pitcher Steven Cook going to the Montreal Expos in the 25th round and outfielder Steve Sherman being taken in the next round by the St. Louis Cardinals.
As a head coach, Myers coached seven pitchers that signed professional contracts as well as the 2004 Big South Conference Freshman of the Year. During the last four years, the Bulldog pitching staffs set five different school records and finished in the top half of the league statistics each season.
Prior to taking over as head coach, Myers spent a season as an assistant coach at UNC-Asheville before being named head coach in June 2000. In his first season as UNC-Asheville's pitching coach, the team earned run average dropped by two runs per game.
A 1998 graduate of the University of Tennessee, Myers spent two years on the Tennessee staff in 1998 and 1999.
As a player, Myers pitched two years at Tennessee in 1996 and 1997. He finished with a 13-4 career mark while helping the Volunteers to a pair of NCAA Regional appearances. His record record is fifth all-time in winning percentage at Tennessee. Myers also pitched a season at UC-Sacramento (1994) and Sacramento City College (1995).
"Matt has had great success in developing pitchers," Slater said. "He also has a fantastic pitching background having been coached by two outstanding coaches in Jerry Weinstein (Sacramento City College) and Dave Serrano (Cal-State Fullerton pitching coach, former Tennessee pitching coach)."
UNC-Asheville athletic director Janet Cone said, "We are very sorry to be losing Matt Myers, but this is a tremendous opportunity for him at Auburn University. "I've only been here for a short time, but I have been impressed with the job Matt has done with our baseball program. Our program is respected throughout the country thanks to Matt's hard work and dedication. We will miss him and his family, but we wish him nothing but the best at Auburn."
Myers made an immediate impact on the Bulldogs' program. In his first year at UNCA freshman right-hander Aaron Rembert earned All-American honors and junior closer closer Nick Brannon set a school record for saves. Sophomore pitcher Jason Walker pitched the first no-hitter in school history against Big South Conference champion Liberty.
"I will always be grateful to UNC-Asheville for taking a chance on me as a young pitching coach and as a young head coach," Myers says. "I have learned so much during my time here and have so many wonderful memories. Asheville will always have a special place in my heart."
Under Myers' direction, the Bulldogs earned non-conference victories over Ivy League power Penn, South Conference champion Western Carolina, Big East foe St. John's and Penn State of the Big 10.