Mike Anderson said that Newman's ability to develop pitchers and pitching staffs and his proven ability to recruit in the Big 12 region stood out when choosing Newman for the opening on the Husker coaching staff.
"I pursued Coach Newman for this opening because of his ability to work with pitchers and his ability to recruit high-level student-athletes," Anderson said. "In talking to people around the country, some of my closest friends in the coaching ranks were the ones who gave Coach Newman their highest recommendations. The thing that sold me on him after talking to him was the character he adds to our program."
Newman said the opportunity to join the Husker staff was alluring for several reasons.
"It takes a pretty special opportunity to leave a head coaching position to become an assistant, and Nebraska was appealing for a number of reasons," Newman said. "It is an opportunity to coach in the Big 12 when you play some of the toughest competition in the country. It's a school where you can win a Big 12 title, go to a regional on a yearly basis and have a chance to make it to the College World Series. It is also a chance to work with two coaches that I have a lot of respect for in Coach Anderson and Coach (Dave) Bingham."
"I really appreciated the opportunity that I was given by Dallas Baptist by the administration, my assistant coaches and players over the last five years," Newman said. "I would not be at the University of Nebraska today without the experiences I gained at Dallas Baptist."
Over the last three seasons as head coach, the Patriots compiled a 95-72 record, including a 52-11 home record, while completing the transition to full Division I status in 2005. Despite lacking a conference affiliation, DBU finished with a 30-26 mark this spring, including wins over College World Series qualifier Mississippi State as well as NCAA Regional teams St. John's and Fresno State. Eight players were selected to the All-Independent team, while three players were drafted and another signed as a free agent before the draft. Freshman shortstop Austin Knight earned Collegiate Baseball Freshman All-America honors, while right-hander Victor Black earned one of 36 invites to Team USA's tryout camp last month.
During the two years the Patriots have been eligible for NCAA Division I individual awards, Dallas Baptist had one Collegiate Baseball All-American (Drew Holder) and 14 players named to the All-Independent Team. For his efforts, Newman was named Independent Coach of the Year in 2006. Newman's teams have not shied away from stiff competition during his tenure, as Dallas Baptist has wins over Oregon State, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, TCU, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech over the last three seasons.
On the national level, Dallas Baptist has had at least one player invited to Team USA summer tryouts in three of the past four seasons (Lance Broadway in 2004, Austin Krum in 2006 and Black in 2007) and a total of 15 players – including eight pitchers – selected in the Major League Baseball First-Year player draft or signed professional free agent contacts.
"Eric is a tenacious recruiter and has done an outstanding job of getting quality individuals to Dallas Baptist when he is recruiting against Big 12 teams in that area," Anderson said. "To be as competitive as they have been as an independent so quickly after moving to Division I while playing the schedule they have over the last few years is impressive."
Newman began his Dallas Baptist career as the school's pitching coach in 2002, a position he held for three seasons before being named head coach. In his time as an assistant, he lowered the team ERA from 5.80 in 2002 to 3.28 in two years. Their 3.28 team ERA in 2004 would have ranked seventh nationally except for DBU's provisional Division I status.
That season, he produced a pair of 10-game winners in Broadway and Jeff Gilmore. Broadway, a finalist for the Dick Howser Trophy and Roger Clemens award in 2005, would eventually become a first-round pick of the Chicago White Sox and has already reached the Triple-A level. Three of his Newman's pitchers earned National Pitcher-of-the-Week honors, while his staffs have thrown a perfect game and three no-hitters since the start of the 2003 season.
Newman also brings expertise from the professional ranks, as he served as player-coach for the Single-A affiliate Vero Beach Dodgers in 2002. He played professionally for total of eight seasons, including stints in the San Diego Padres, Chicago Cubs, and Arizona Diamondbacks organizations.
Newman spent two years playing collegiate baseball at Fresno State prior to transferring to Texas Tech in 1993. He played for the Red Raiders one year before being drafted in the fifth round of the MLB Draft by the San Diego Padres in 1994.
Newman graduated from Texas Tech with a bachelor's degree in family studies in 1997, and completed his master's degree in higher education at Dallas Baptist in 2005. Eric and his wife Melissa are expecting their first child later this summer.