Baseball America/ABCA Assistant Coaches Of The Year
Baseball America has partnered with the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) for the last 20 years to present the Assistant Coach of the Year award. Previous honorees have included Tim Corbin (Clemson) and Brian O’Connor (Notre Dame), who went on to win national championships as head coaches, Derek Johnson (Vanderbilt), who is now a major league pitching coach, and longtime assistants such as Dean Stotz (Stanford), Rob Fornasiere (Minnesota) and Mike Birkbeck (Kent State).
Duke associate head coach Josh Jordan in October was named the 2018 honoree after helping lead the Blue Devils to their first ever super regionals appearance.
This year, for the first time, Baseball America and ABCA have expanded the awards beyond the Division I ranks and are honoring coaches at the Division II, Division III, NAIA, junior college and high school ranks. This year’s honorees include a coach who this year won a national title, as well as some longtime assistants at premier programs from across the country.
The winners will be recognized in January at ABCA’s convention in Dallas.
NCAA Division II
Sam Militello, Tampa (Fla.)
Militello has spent 18 seasons on staff at Tampa and has served as associate head coach to Joe Urso since 2009. He has helped his alma mater win four national championships during his tenure and, as pitching coach, has coached 32 pitchers who have been drafted.
NCAA Division III
Kolin Conner, Concordia-Chicago
Conner has coached three seasons at Concordia-Chicago and helped the Cougars to back-to-back appearances in the Division III College World Series. During his tenure as hitting coach, the Cougars have hit .320 and averaged 7.69 runs per game.
Keith Lytle, Oklahoma City
Lytle has spent 29 seasons on staff at Oklahoma City, which is the winningest NAIA program in the country over that time period. The Stars have made back-to-back trips to the NAIA World Series and this season led the nation in slugging percentage (.596) and finished second in batting average (.358) and runs (621).
NJCAA Division I
Kory Koehler, San Jacinto (Texas)
Koehler has spent the last 19 seasons at San Jacinto, including two as a player, which has consistently been one of the best junior college programs in the country. The Gators this year finished third at the Junior College World Series, and Koehler has coached 133 players who have been drafted over the course of his career.
NJCAA Division II
Alan Orgain, LSU-Eunice
Orgain helped lead LSU-Eunice to the 2018 national championship, its fifth in his 11 seasons on staff. As pitching coach, Orgain helped develop 2018 NJCAA pitcher of the year Zach Hester and guided a staff that set program records for strikeouts (576) and opponent batting average (.215).
NJCAA Division III
Taylor White, Tyler (Texas)
White spent three seasons at Tyler (Texas) JC before this summer moving to Texas-Tyler after helping the Apaches to a runner-up finish at the 2018 Division III Junior College World Series. During his tenure at Tyler JC, he helped guide the program to a 116-52 record.
Deskaheh Bomberry, Sacramento City
Bomberry has spent 21 seasons at Sacramento City and in 2018 helped the Panthers to a runner-up finish at the California state championship. A highly respected pitching coach, four players he has coached have gone on to play in the major leagues and this year’s staff led the Big 8 Conference in ERA (3.02) and WHIP (1.24).
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Texas coach David Pierce, Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn and Mississippi State coach Chris Lemonis join the podcast.
High School Division I
Josh Bayless, Cookeville (Tenn.) HS
Bayless this season helped Cookeville High to a 23-8 record and coached Joshua South, who became the first player in program history to earn all-state honors as a two-way player.
High School Division II
Jacob Clay, Brock (Texas) HS
Clay this season helped Brock High reach the state semifinals in Texas’ 3A division and coached two players named to the all-state team.
High School Division III
Steve Healy, Boston College HS
Boston College High had a special 2018 season and Healy coached righthander Mike Vasil, who pulled out of the draft in favor of attending Virginia, despite being a likely top-two rounds pick.