The Pirates have officially transitioned from one Godwin era to another with the East Carolina Board of Trustees' approval of the hire of Ole Miss assistant Cliff Godwin as the school's new head baseball coach.Godwin, 36, played catcher at ECU from 1997-2001, serving three years as team captain and helping the Pirates to a pair of Colonial Athletic Association titles.
Prior to his three years at Ole Miss, Godwin had coaching stints at UCF, where he was named Conference USA's assistant coach of the year in 2010 by SEBaseball.com, LSU, Vanderbilt, Notre Dame and UNC Wilmington.
Godwin will become the 16th baseball coach in ECU history when the Pirates begin play next spring as members of the American Athletic Conference.
"It is an honor to be in a position to lead the East Carolina baseball program and serve my alma mater," he said in an ECU statement. "I consider it a privilege to carry on Coach LeClair's legacy and represent not only the guys I played with, but all former Pirates who have made this a special place. My goal is to provide a product on and off the field people will be proud of and to develop good baseball players and even better human beings."
Raised in Snow Hill, N.C. and a prep product of Greene Central High School, Godwin most recently served as Ole Miss' assistant coach and recruiting coordinator, where he helped lead the Rebels to their first College World Series appearance since 1972.
During his three-year tenure in Oxford, Godwin was an integral part of NCAA Regional teams all three seasons and spearheaded recruiting efforts that garnered four Top 22 recruiting classes, including a No. 5 ranking in 2013 by Perfect Game, and had nine Major League Draft selections - three of which went in the first five rounds.
En route to a share of third place at the 2014 CWS, Godwin's Rebel hitters ranked first in the Southeastern Conference in batting average (.303) and second in both home runs (42) and runs scored (396) on its way to the league's West Division crown.
He continued to develop some of the top hitters in recent program history in 2014 as senior Will Allen and junior Auston Bousfield earned All-America accolades, while J.B. Woodman garnered Freshman All-America status. Allen, the Rebels leading hitter (.341) and top RBI man with 64, is a finalist for the ‘14 Johnny Bench Award.
In his three years at UCF, Godwin helped put the Golden Knights on the map with the nation's fourth-ranked recruiting class in 2010 before following with a Top 20 class in 2011. He also helped lead the Knights back to NCAA Regional action in 2011 for the first time since 2004. Paced by First-Team All-Conference USA sluggers Jonathan Griffin and D.J. Hicks, UCF led the league in home runs, slugging percentage, hits, runs, RBI and doubles.
In addition, his development of Beau Taylor, who batted .325 with five home runs and 47 RBI, earned him inclusion on the 2011 Johnny Bench Award Watch List.
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