Koerner takes reigns at NCCU
Veteran coach tabbed as the next leader of the Eagles program
DURHAM, N.C. – With more 10 years of collegiate coaching experience at both the NCAA Division I and III levels, Jim Koerner has been named as the new head coach at North Carolina Central. Koerner is coming to NCCU from the Buffalo, where he helped build the Division I Bulls baseball program as assistant coach and recruiting coordinator since 2005.
“First of all, I’m very excited to be the new head baseball coach here at NCCU,” said Koerner. “NCCU is the complete package for me and my family. The atmosphere and attitude I’ve experienced from the people I have met is exactly what I was looking for. There is a passion for athletics and in this case the baseball program in particular. There is a solid foundation in place with our current players, we are in a great location for college and high school baseball and we play in a gorgeous facility, the Durham Athletic Park.”
His previous stops include a stint at Marshall from 2003-05 where he also served as assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for the staff, and his first Division I job came at Monmouth after a three-year head coaching stint at Medaille in Buffalo, N.Y., where he took a relatively brand-new baseball program and turned it into a winner in a short time. In his final season at Medaille, he improved the Mavericks win total by 15 games, one of the top turnarounds in Division III, and was named the 2003 North East Conference Coach of the Year.
“I am excited about having Coach Koerner as a part of our NCCU athletics program,” said Director of Athletics Dr. Ingrid Wicker-McCree. “We pride ourselves on hiring qualified individuals who have shown passion and dedication to their careers. Coach Koerner has been able to make an indelible mark at each of the institutions he has been associated with in the past and we know that he will do the same here at NCCU.
“Coach Koerner’s career journey includes coach of the year recognition as an NCAA Division III head coach and success as a top recruiter at three NCAA Division I programs, which will definitely bring unique experiences to help take our baseball program to the next level,” said Wicker-McCree. “Most importantly, our students will benefit from his vast knowledge of the game and his great concern for student success.”
Passion and enthusiasm are certainly two character traits that Koerner shares when it comes to the game of baseball.
“I love the game,” said Koerner. “I’ve been involved with this game for a long time. I absolutely have a passion for teaching. Nothing gives me more satisfaction then working with a player from the beginning of August and watching that player mature and get better as the year goes along. To me that’s what it’s all about. If every guy on the team can take those steps to improve and get better and has that desire, the whole team will get better and that’s how you achieve your goals.”
Koerner, who earned his bachelor’s degree in economics from St. John Fisher (N.Y.) and a master’s degree in athletic administration from Marshall, truly believes in emphasizing the student portion of student-athlete.
“I personally believe that there is a direct correlation between academic aptitude and a player’s ability to adjust and improve on the field,” said Koerner. “Excellence needs to be established in all parts of life. It’s not just a baseball thing. I don’t want student-athletes that treat excellence as a light switch. It needs to be a constant process in everything we do. That’s what I am going to stress here.”
Koerner has had 19 players move on to the next level and play professional baseball during his collegiate coaching career, and the 2009 and 2010 Bulls broke 27 all-time and single-season offensive records as he was directly in charge of hitting at Buffalo.
Koerner wants to get this message out to the Eagle nation.
“Get excited about NCCU baseball,” said Koerner. “We’re going to do things the right way on and off the field and we’re going to be a lot of fun to watch. I’m especially looking forward to meeting everybody, so when February rolls around make sure to get out to the ballpark and see us in action.”
During his time at UB, the Bulls had four players earn All-Mid-American Conference, honors including the 2011 MAC Player of the Year in Tom Murphy.
Prior to Buffalo when Koerner held the same position with Marshall, he coached one of his players to All-Conference USA honors and also helped the Thundering Herd to its first post-season appearance in 10 years. During the 2006 season, Marshall was consistently in the top 5 in most offensive categories and had two players finish in the top 10 in batting.
At Monmouth, where Koerner broke into Division I coaching as an assistant, he helped lead the team to its seventh consecutive conference tournament appearance.
Koerner has also been head coach of several U.S. teams that competed in international tournaments, including the Belgium Open and the Chianti (Italy) Baseball Challenge. Out of college in 1998, he was also signed by the Richmond Roosters of the Independent Frontier League.