Lemonis named Indiana’s new head baseball coach

Chris Lemonis, Louisville’s hitting coach and recruiting coordinator, has been named Indiana’s new baseball coach according to a source within the department.

Lemonis has been at Louisville with head coach Dan McDonnell since 2007 and has helped the Cardinals to three College World Series in his tenure. He also coached at the Citadel for more than a decade before that and played on a Citadel team in 1990 that played in the College World Series.

Lemonis replaces Tracy Smith, who left for Arizona State.

“I like his coaching tree,” Indiana athletic director Fred Glass said. “His head guy at Louisville is very well respected for doing things the right way. He’s been successful everywhere he’s coached. He’s been there, done that. He was the national assistant coach of the year. But you don’t hire on paper. You’ve gotta meet him. He was about everything we’re about  as far as doing things the right way. He’s one of the most renowned recruiters on a national level. He has a natural recruiting base. He’s a great instructor in what he does, which his primarily hitting. We think he’s going to be a great fit with the rest of our coaching staff.”

Lemonis said he contacted Indiana about the position immediately once it opened. He had been up for several jobs previously and turned them down, including the head coaching position at Penn State.

“I’m a big family guy, and I was never looking to jump around,” Lemonis said. “I was kind of looking for that dream school. And to me, Indiana is a dream school. It’s a great school on top of everything. It’s a great sell to student athletes. They have a tremendous commitment to baseball with the facility and every thing they’ve done. Those were the attractions. Bloomington is a great place to live, at least according to everyone I’ve talked to. All those factors together made this a dream job.”

The release follows:

Indiana Welcomes Highly-Acclaimed Chris Lemonis as New Head Baseball Coach

 

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Indiana University Vice President and Director of Athletics Fred Glass announced the hiring of Louisville assistant coach Chris Lemonis as the 24th head coach of the Hoosier baseball program Wednesday. The 2013 ABCA/Baseball America Assistant Coach of the Year will be introduced at a press conference on a date to be determined.

 

“We are extremely pleased with the extensive interest in this position, from head coaches to assistant coaches and others associated with collegiate and professional baseball,” Glass said. “From those outstanding candidates, we are confident we have selected the right one to lead Indiana Baseball.”

 

Indiana, the No. 4 overall seed in the 2014 NCAA Tournament, conducted a comprehensive, nationwide search and consulted some of the most recognized names in baseball, including Major League Baseball All-Star and Indiana native Scott Rolen.

 

“I’d like to personally thank all involved in the process of helping us land this outstanding head coach, especially our student-athletes and Scott Rolen, who served as a special advisor in our search,” Glass said.

 

Lemonis’ imprint in elevating the Louisville program to new heights has been evident. The former Cardinals’ recruiting coordinator aided Louisville to three College World Series appearances (2008, 2013, 2014) and a 359-159 (.693) record during the past eight seasons, including back-to-back 50-win seasons in 2013 and 2014.

 

Working under Louisville head coach Dan McDonnell, Lemonis has helped the Cardinals produce 15 All-Americans, 54 all-conference selections and a pair of conference Player of the Year winners. Entering his 21st season in coaching and first as a head coach, Lemonis takes over an IU program that has gone 93-31 during the past two seasons, including its first-ever College World Series appearance in 2013 and the No. 4 overall seed in the 2014 NCAA Baseball Championship.

 

“I am really excited for the opportunity to join one of college baseball’s hottest programs at Indiana,” Lemonis said. “I am thankful Fred Glass and the administration have faith in me to keep the momentum rolling and keep the Hoosiers at the top of the Big Ten.

 

“Our staff will do everything we can to recruit the state of Indiana and the entire Midwest to bring the best baseball players to Bloomington. We will play an exciting brand of baseball and are confident we can continue the championship tradition that has been established at IU.”

 

Known as one of the premiere hitting coaches and recruiters in college baseball, Lemonis built a pristine track record in 20 years as an assistant that included continuous Top 25 recruiting classes and 12 visits to the NCAA Tournament.

 

Lemonis mentored 33 players that signed professional contracts after being selected in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft during the last eight years, including a school-record 10 selections in the 2010 MLB Draft.

 

Lemonis helped Louisville win four BIG EAST championships in the school’s final five years in the conference and he saw U of L set the school record for wins in a season three different times, including 2013, when the Cardinals won a current-best 51 games.

 

Prior to his time at Louisville, Lemonis spent 12 seasons as an assistant coach at his alma mater, The Citadel, including the final four as associate head coach. While at The Citadel, the Bulldogs recorded five NCAA Regional appearances and finished first or second in the Southern Conference seven times.

 

Lemonis, who worked primarily with hitters and outfielders at The Citadel, oversaw 35 new offensive records. The Bulldogs boasted seven All-Americans, two Freshman All-Americans, 17 first team All-Southern Conference honorees, a Southern Conference Player of the Year and a Freshman of the Year.

 

Part of nearly 800 wins as an assistant coach, Lemonis’ teams have averaged 39.2 victories per year during his career, bolstered by a 44.9 wins-per-season average at Louisville.

 

Lemonis graduated from The Citadel in 1992, twice earning All-Southern Conference honors as a player and leading the team in home runs three times. He led the Bulldogs with a .367 average, 19 doubles, 52 runs, 10 home runs and 66 RBI as senior. He was also named to the 1993 All-Southern Conference Tournament team. He ranks in the top 15 all-time at The Citadel in RBI (152), 11th in home runs (23) and 10th in slugging percentage (.538).

 

A native of Myrtle Beach, S.C., Lemonis and his wife, Jill, have two daughters, Marissa and Mackenzie.

12 comments

  1. I read a story on a different website (sorry, Dustin) that implied that Glass & Co. were interested in going a different route than a former Smith colleague (Neal or Googins, for example).

    My question: Why?

    I’m not saying they should or shouldn’t have hired someone from the Tracy Smith “coaching tree,” I’m just curious as to the rationale behind that thinking.

  2. Man, there are a lot of people(even some with revamped screen names)on Scoop that are planting seeds of suggestion(dare I say “conspiracy theories”)attempting to steal my gig.

    Mr. “Passion of the Embrace” Podunker taking little digs at Danny Cameron as if it’s only his father’s conection to IU Football that’s getting the mediocre QB’s foot in the Wilson football door..

    And now this “DiamondGuy”(obviously inspired and hocked from my recent comments and link to the famous Marilyn Monroe song)throwing curve balls of bending implication that a possible bad vibe was circulating around the culture brought by Smith..?

    There’s quite the “passion” going on here, indeed. Shouldn’t you fill in the gaps here, Dustin? Any news on that trial? Just curious…Is the Smith boy going to remain on the football team or will he also be moving to Arizona?

    And when Indiana is their stage, who in the hell is watching Jordy Hulls? Any NBA level of athleticism looks like Marilynadipo performing ‘Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Orlando Friend.’(courtesy: Hoosier Scoop, Harvard for Hillbillies, Tuesday, June 24, 2014 – 10:52 AM EDT)

  3. And by no means are the repeated patterns of taking little digs worthy of repeating a Tsao analogy…It’s just noted as fitting the same old passionate pattern for a level of love felt for IU Sports shared by no other. Take off the rose-colored glasses and get out the Ben oculars.

    ‘Ben Oculars’© is now property of Harvard for Hillbillies. :mrgreen:

  4. Sorry, Harvard — you may inspire some, but not me. I just saw this on a blog called B1Gbaseball.com and wondered if Dustin had any insight …

    “Neal, an eight-year assistant at Indiana under Smith, just completed his first season guiding the Bearcats. Hired by UC during IU’s College World Series run, Indiana did not have interest in continuing the Smith coaching tree. Deeper in the coaching tree, Googins was a four-year assistant of Smith at Miami University.”

    It might just be the author’s speculation — not sure it indicates a “bad vibe” from the Smith era.

  5. Damn…That’s a Shane. Can’t Winn ’em all.

    I do like DiamondGuy as a screen name. About time someone got a little inventive. But what was your original screen name…? You didn’t introduce yourself as new to the Scoop blogging Yacht Club, so I’m figuring you revamped.

    I recently bought tickets to go see “Vampires on Broadway”….It’s my understanding that it’s much improved because they revamped the entire show.

    Notice: Bar closes at 10:45 tonight.

  6. As you sip your final humpnight drink, I would like to dedicate the following clip to the “The Passion of the Embrace” and “Ben Oculars.”

  7. ” If you are riding ahead of the herd, take a look back every now and then to see if it’s still there.” Will Rogers

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