Three Division I programs named new head coaches in the past few days, headlined by Duke's hiring of Chris Pollard away from Appalachian State on Thursday. On Wednesday, Northwestern State hired Mississippi State assistant Lane Burroughs as its head coach, and Oral Roberts elevated Ryan Folmar from assistant to head coach.
Pollard became a hot commodity in coaching circles after guiding Appalachian State to a school-record 41 wins and its first regional since 1986 this spring, the Mountaineers' sixth consecutive 30-win season. It was a remarkable transformation for a program that posted back-to-back 10-win seasons in 2004 and '05. He replaces Sean McNally, who resigned last month after seven seasons.
"Chris Pollard represents a seasoned, highly successful coach, mentor and leader," Duke director of athletics Kevin White said in a release. "His track record speaks volumes about his dramatic impact on the Appalachian State baseball program. Of course, with his background as a student-athlete, assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Davidson, coupled with his experience as a head coach, we believe that he represents an ideal fit at Duke University."
Burroughs' track record of success includes helping guide Northwestern State to the 1998 Southland Conference championship as an assistant alongside Rob Childress (now at Texas A&M) under Dave Van Horn (now at Arkansas). He has spent the last four years on John Cohen's staff at Mississippi State, helping lay the foundation for last year's super regional team and this year's SEC tournament championship team through his tireless work on the recruiting trail. He also has spent time as an assistant at Kansas State and Southern Mississippi.
"Our goal is to bring Northwestern State back to being the premiere baseball program in the Southland Conference, and in the process prepare young men for unlimited possibilities in their future," said Burroughs, a 17-year coaching veteran.
Folmar has spent the last nine seasons as an assistant under Rob Walton, who left to take the pitching coach job at his alma mater, Oklahoma State. During that time, he has developed a reputation as a standout hitting coach. He was a natural choice to succeed Walton as head coach.
"My philosophy has always been that if our program is in good shape, we need to look internally first," athletic director Mike Carter said in a release. "In this case, we have a great person to take over in Ryan Folmar. He is well-respected and loved by our players and coaches, he has strong leadership skills, and he is a great mentor to our student-athletes."
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