COLUMBIA, Mo. — New Missouri baseball coach Steve Bieser warned the assembled crowd at his introductory press conference on Friday morning that he might get emotional.
When he spoke about his family and his new opportunity, he did just that. It was a glimpse into how the former Major Leaguer and former Southeast Missouri coach feels about his new gig with the Tigers.
“This has been my dream job,” Bieser said. “Missouri is a special place for me. Born and raised. Always looked at this as the pinnacle of college baseball being able to coach at the University of Missouri.”
After an introduction from Missouri athletics director Mack Rhoades, Bieser talked for several minutes about what he wants to define the Missouri baseball program and what he expects from his team.
He also wasn’t shy about his expectations for the Tigers competing in the Southeastern Conference, which had been a struggle for Mizzou under former coach Tim Jamieson after making the switch from the Big 12 Conference.
“When I talk about competing in the SEC, I have ultimate confidence that this program is going to rise to the top, it’s going to be a prominent program in the SEC and I’ve never jumped into anything without the mindset that the final prize out there can’t be accomplished,” Bieser said. “This is a place, this is a group of guys, and we’re going to start building it right now but this is a program that’s going to find itself in the College World Series.”
The Ste. Genevieve, Mo., native, who becomes the Tigers’ 14th head coach, proved to be a winner during his four years at SEMO, where the RedHawks won 35 or more games in each of his last three seasons and he was twice named the Ohio Valley Conference coach of the year.
Rhoades, the Missouri athletics director, spoke about the interest in the job the school received and how they narrowed the search down before Thursday’s announcement.
“What excited me most is that there was a lot of interest in this job and we knew there would be,” Rhoades said. “There was great, great interest and it was tough narrowing it down. We started probably vetting 15 to 18 candidates, made a ton of phone calls to people I would consider college baseball people.”
Rhoades said they interviewed six candidates in person and got it down to two finalists before selecting Bieser.
“Why Coach Bieser? I think it starts with integrity,” Rhoades said. “He is a man of unbelievable integrity. You talk to some many people that have intersected with his life and the impact he’s had on them and the way he’s carried himself through his baseball career, his time at St. John Vianney, his time at Southeastern Missouri, his integrity, just unbelievable.
“We believe, or I believe, philosophically, you can’t be great on the field unless you’re great off the field. And Coach certainly shares that philosophy. And I’m excited because the one thing we continued to hear over and over again about him as a coach and the student athletes that played for him is he got them to do things they never thought they could do — that they became better in all facets of life.”
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