Marshall Hires 28th Baseball Coach

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Marshall University Director of Athletics Bob Marcum has announced the hiring of Jeff Waggoner as the Thundering Herd's new head baseball coach. Waggoner, an Alliance, Ohio native, spent the last two seasons as an assistant coach with the nationally-ranked North Carolina State University baseball team from the Atlantic Coast Conference.

"Marshall is a great fit academically and athletically," Waggoner, 30, said. "That is what attracted me to this job more than anything. I am excited about the future of this program and I am in the mix of hiring some great coaches." Marcum gave thanks to the selection committee for finding a quality candidate for the MU job. "It is great to have someone of his caliber to head our baseball program," said Marcum. "I'd like to thank our screening committee (Beatrice Crane Banford-Assoc. AD for Olympic Sports; Sam Stanley-Director of Athletic Development; Jack Cook-former MU baseball coach, who had 422 wins with the Herd; and Dave Robinson-local businessman and baseball supporter) who assisted me in this process."

While with the Wolfpack, Waggoner was a part of two N.C. State teams that had a combined record of 81-41 and played in back-to-back NCAA Tournaments. In 2006, N.C. State finished second in the ACC Tournament and was runner up in the NCAA Austin Regional. The Wolfpack ranked as high as seventh in the nation last season while finishing third nationally in hitting (.333) and second in the ACC in fielding percentage (.970). A total of six players were named to All-ACC teams, with two claiming All-America honors in Ramon Corona and Matt Camp. Waggoner's responsibilities with the Wolfpack included player development, recruiting, academic support, travel and directing N.C. State's summer baseball camps.

Before his arrival in Raleigh, Waggoner spent two seasons as the recruiting coordinator at Kent State University, facing the Herd in Mid-American Conference play in 2003 and 2004. The Golden Flashes captured the 2004 MAC Tournament Championship during Waggoner's tenure. KSU also had seven players selected in the Major League Baseball draft. Prior to the Kent State job, he was also an assistant coach at George Washington University from 2000-2002, where he helped guide the Colonials to a school record for wins in a season (42) in 2002 and the Atlantic 10 championship in 2002. George Washington led the A-10 and was among the national leaders in both batting average (.326) and home runs (91) that season. The Colonials posted a two-year record of 80-45 during Waggoner's stay and five GW players were selected in the MLB draft.

Before his two years at George Washington, Waggoner spent the 2000 season at the College of St. Rose in Albany, N.Y., helping St. Rose earn a berth in the Division II College World Series in 2000. Waggoner has also worked with two wooden bat collegiate baseball summer teams. He was the head coach of the Arlington Senators of the Clark Griffith League in 2002 in the Washington, D.C. area. Waggoner guided the Senators to a 32-10 regular-season record, the Clark Griffith League championship, and the All-American Amateur Baseball Association (AAABA) national championship. Prior to that, he was an assistant coach for the Schenectady Mohawks of the New York Collegiate League in 1999 and 2000. "I have learned under some great coaches and have pulled knowledge from each of them," said Waggoner. "I have coached at the smallest schools all the way to Division I, so I have seen things from both ends. The (Huntington) community has been really supportive," continued Waggoner, commenting on the hiring process that brought him to Marshall. "It is a family here, and it is the same with the Marshall support staff. That is very important to me. The future at Marshall looks very bright."

Waggoner lettered two years as a catcher at Cleveland State University, graduating from CSU with a sport management degree in 1998. He played two years at Crowder College in Neosho, Mo., prior to transferring to Cleveland State. Waggoner received his master's degree in educational psychology from St. Rose in 2001. He and his wife Rachelle, were married on August 27, 2004.

Marshall will be in its second year of play in Conference USA in 2007, having won six games in the initial swing through the league, finishing 22-32 overall and advancing to conference tournament play for the first time since 1995. Marshall baseball has not posted a winning season since 1994, although the 2004 MU team was 27-27 (while Waggoner was at Kent State). The Flashes took two-of-three from the Herd in '04, winning 11-1 and 5-4, while Marshall took the middle game 4-3. KSU took three-of-four in 2003 in Waggoner's first season in Kent, Ohio.

Waggoner will inherit a team that lost 13 seniors from the lineup, including seven starters in the field, four relievers and one starter. The Herd, who was 4-8 last year in one-run games, will return All-Conference USA second team designated hitter and first baseman Brendan Murphy (hitting .315, with 15 homers and 70 runs-batter-in) and right fielder Brit Vincent (.301, 15 doubles). 19 other players are eligible to return, including catcher/dh Tommy Johnson (.378 in 16 games) and starting pitchers Brian Chrisman (3-7, led staff with 59 strikeouts), Jeremy Sloan (3-8, 5.18 earned run average) and Jimmy Stanley (3-0 as true freshman).

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