Former Kent State standout, coach Stricklin takes over reigns at Georgia
ATHENS, Ga. -- Scott Stricklin, who led his alma mater Kent State to five NCAA regionals and the 2012 College World Series, has been named head baseball coach at Georgia, Director of Athletics Greg McGarity announced Monday.
Stricklin, 41, posted a 350-188 record during a nine-year stint with the Golden Flashes, winning five Mid-American Conference regular-season crowns and five MAC tournament titles. Known for developing student-athletes on and off the field, 30 KSU players have been selected in the Major League Baseball draft during his tenure, and from 2010-12 the team has registered a perfect 1,000 score in the NCAA's Academic Performance Rate (APR) report. KSU was one of only 16 schools in the country to reach this academic accomplishment and the only public institution on the list. Also, the Golden Flashes were honored in Omaha in 2012 for having the highest team GPA of all the eight participants at the CWS, owning a 3.09 GPA. For the spring semester of 2013, the KSU baseball team registered a 3.06 GPA.
"We are thrilled to have Scott [Stricklin] leading our baseball program," McGarity said. "Scott has excelled in every phase of his career, as a student-athlete at Kent State, in professional baseball, as an assistant coach at Vanderbilt and Georgia Tech and as a head coach at Kent State for the past nine years. At every step of the search process, his name was consistently mentioned as a tremendous candidate and we are so happy to have Scott provide the leadership and direction for our program."
Stricklin earned his first head coaching job in July of 2004 when he returned to Kent State following three seasons as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Georgia Tech under former KSU head coach Danny Hall. Stricklin began his coaching career in 1998 as a volunteer coach for the Yellow Jackets and then spent two seasons as the pitching coach at Vanderbilt from 2000-01. While at Tech, he landed the consensus No. 1 ranked recruiting class in 2002 as it advanced to the CWS that year, and it made it to an NCAA super regional in 2004 before falling to Georgia in Atlanta. His final recruiting class at Vanderbilt was ranked seventh best by Baseball America. In 2011, he served as an assistant coach for the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team.
Stricklin directed Kent State to its finest season in school history in 2012 as the Golden Flashes posted a record 47 victories, including a 21-game winning streak and their first trip to the CWS. KSU's postseason run featured its fourth consecutive MAC tournament title to go with its first NCAA regional and super regional championships. KSU wound up with a final national ranking of No. 5, the highest ranking in team history. For the second year in a row, Stricklin was honored as the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA)/Rawlings NCAA Mideast Coach of the Year and the MAC Coach of the Year.
"My family and I are excited to be Georgia Bulldogs," Stricklin said. "It's been a dream to coach in the Southeastern Conference and I look forward to moving my family to Athens and getting started on the recruiting trail and building on the tradition of Georgia baseball. I feel the Georgia Bulldogs can be a power in the SEC and a national power. I want to thank Greg McGarity for giving me this opportunity. Also, I want to thank current Kent State athletic director Joel Nielsen and former athletic director Laing Kennedy for the confidence and support they showed for the Kent State baseball program over the last nine years."
Stricklin, a two-time All-Mid-American Conference catcher, handled pitching staffs that were ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the nation in ERA during his final two playing seasons at KSU. A 23rd round draft pick of the Minnesota Twins in 1993, he played five seasons of professional baseball and reached the Triple-A level with the Twins.
"Scott Stricklin is a tremendous hire for the University of Georgia; he is a guy who has had a lot of success as a head coach, taking Kent State to the College World Series and perennially has had one of the best and most talented teams in the Midwest," Baseball America executive editor Jim Callis said. "He's got a background coaching in Georgia and in the SEC at Vanderbilt. As a Georgia alum, I was thrilled by the hire as well."