Ryan Goodwin named head baseball coach

Story by Jim Joyner, Sports Editor

For the first time since the turn of the century, someone other than Phil Hannon will coach the Baker baseball team. Baker University Director of Athletics Theresa Yetmar announced Tuesday that Ryan Goodwin will take over as head baseball coach effective July 1.

“I’m excited to hear that the athletic department found a new head coach,” junior pitcher Justin Madsen said. “I know they have looked hard into the matter of finding a suitable coach.”

Hannon has coached the Wildcats since 1999 and reached his first conference tournament in 2014 after finishing fifth in the Heart of America Athletic Conference with a 14-12 record.

“I’ve enjoyed my two years with coach Hannon and we have experienced some success under his command,” Madsen said. “With that said, we are excited to take the challenge of a new coach.”

Hannon’s final season was set to be 2014, but the coaching search was put on hold through the 2014-15 season and Hannon came back to coach one more season. Hannon also served as the part-time assistant director for admissions.

“It’s an interesting situation that I’ve never personally been in before,” junior Trevor Lininger said. “I trust our athletic department and know that they made a choice with our best interest in mind.”

Goodwin has coached at nearly every level of college baseball including NCAA divisions I and II, junior college, and the NAIA.

Goodwin comes to Baker from NAIA Wiley College in Marshall, Texas, after serving as the head coach of the Wildcats for two seasons. Before he arrived the Wildcats finished with a record of 5-33 in 2013 and dead last in the Red River Athletic Conference.

In Goodwin’s two years the Wildcats combined for a record of 38-61. In 2014 Wiley posted the school’s first winning record in conference play since 2011 and the school’s first winning season since 2010. Wiley matched up with Baker for six games over the two years, and Baker won four of the six with the teams splitting the two-game series in Baldwin City in 2015.

“We have had the pleasure of playing against coach Goodwin the last two years, and from what I’ve seen and heard I believe he will be a great fit at Baker,” Madsen said.

In 2011 Goodwin saw his first experience at the NCAA Division I level at Jackson State University of the Southwestern Athletic Conference. Goodwin served as the pitching coach for the Tigers. Jackson State led the SWAC in ERA in 2011.

Between 2008 and 2013 Goodwin worked on the staffs at NCAA Division II schools Metropolitan State University of Denver and Washburn University in Topeka. He served three different stints with the Ichabods of Washburn during this time and was used as the pitching coach and recruiting coordinator at both schools.

Goodwin served as an assistant coach at Neosho County Community College from 2004 to 2007 under the current head coach of the Panthers, Steve Murry. Goodwin not only acted as an assistant on the staff but as the recruiting coordinator.

Goodwin attended Lawrence High School and played baseball at Highland Community College before moving on to play for the Coyotes at the University of South Dakota. Goodwin holds the school record for ERA and career saves. He was also a part of the school record 27 wins for the Coyotes in 1999.

Goodwin will take over as head coach after Baker finished in last place in the HAAC in 2015 with a conference record of 6-20.

Senior Cort Brennan started in 34 games this past season and batted .321 with 19 RBI.

“I’m glad the search is over and I’m looking forward to being able to focus on the upcoming season,” Brennan said. “Though we have a new coach in charge, winning the conference still remains our goal, and I believe we have the pieces in place to do just that.”

After a long coaching search, Lininger and the rest of the team are chomping at the bit to get back to Baldwin City and begin preparing for the 2016 season.

“I know we are all excited to have coach Goodwin and are all just ready to get back to playing baseball,” Lininger said.