Matt Deggs joins Sam Houston State as the school's eighth head baseball coach, Athletics Director Bobby Williams announced Friday. The former hitting coach for Louisiana-Lafayette, Texas A&M and Arkansas will bring his aggressive offensive approach to the Bearkats.
"I am very humbled and honored to have this opportunity and it is a privilege for me and my family to come be a part of Sam Houston State," Deggs said. "I'm excited for the opportunity to lead the Bearkats in this new era of baseball and to be a great steward of the program that Mark Johnson and David Pierce did such a great job leading. We're ready to hit the ground running."
A native of Texas City, Deggs served as the Louisiana-Lafayette hitting coach and third base coach, while also overseeing team personnel and recruiting. The Cajuns were a game away from the College World Series in 2014, while the squad posted the most wins in both Sun Belt and program history, finishing the season with 58 victories.
For the second straight season Deggs guided an offense that was revered as the best in college baseball. Louisiana-Lafayette finished the season ranked in the top 10 in the nation in 14 offensive categories and had an OPS of .902.
Lance Harvell joins Matt Deggs staff after two years as the volunteer assistant at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. Harvell helped guide the Ragin' Cajuns to national prominence and the best offense in the country two straight years. The 2014 team finished the season with a 58-10 record, the third best record in NCAA history, and the best record and most wins in school and Sun Belt Conference history.
Along the way to winning the Sun Belt regular season and tournament championships, several Cajuns players earned postseason recognition. Jace Conrad was named first-team All American, Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year, Dick Howser Award Semi-Finalist (National Player of the Year), Gregg Olson Award Candidate (Breakout Player of the Year), and was a 13th round selection by the Tampa Bay Rays.
Blake Trahan earned first-team All-American accolades, first-team All-Conference honors, selected to play short stop for the Team USA Collegiate National team, and was a Brooks Wallace Award Finalist (Best College Short Stop).
Jay Sirianni served as pitching coach and recruiting coordinator at UT Arlington for 10 seasons. He mentored more than 21 pitchers that were drafted or signed free agent contracts with MLB organizations.
During Sirianni's tenure, the UT Arlington pitching staff was consistently one of the best in its conference. He helped lead the Mavericks to three conference titles and two NCAA Regional appearances.
"We are very fortunate to get Jay (Sirianni) from UTA. I've admired his work for a long time and he's got 15-plus years of experience. He's recruited, coached and played at the highest levels. I've watched him develop some really good arms over the years so we're very fortunate to get him here," said Deggs.
Volunteer Assistant Coach
Shane Wedd joins Matt Deggs' staff at Sam Houston State as the volunteer assistant coach. Wedd will coach the infielders, assist with the hitters, and run the Bearkat Baseball Camps.
Wedd was an assistant coach at Northeast Texas Community College from 2012-2014. He served as the recruiting coordinator and ran the Eagles' offense. Wedd helped develop 12 NTCC hitters into all-conference players during his three years at Northeast. The 2012 offense featured the team's speed, as the Eagles led Region 14 with 128 stolen bases.
The Eagles finished the season 33-17, including a 26-10 record in the conference. Northeast was ranked as high as no. 10 in the national polls. The Eagles clinched the conference championship on the last day of the regular season by sweeping a doubleheader from Navarro College, the defending national champions. The conference championship was the program's first since 2003.
Volunteer Operations Coordinator
Gary Miller was given the opportunity to follow his passion for baseball as the volunteer operations coordinator for the Bearkat baseball program.
The operations position will allow Gary to use his 35 years of business experience of which the last 15 were spent as the COO of a privately held company. In that role, he was responsible for the overall company strategy, business segment management, eBusiness development, IT, marketing, communications, sales and marketing operations, customer relations, and product distribution and renewals.
"Gary (Miller) is what I call a baseball lifer. He has been in the business world for the past 35 years and doing baseball in his spare time. That's the type of diversity we're looking for. He'll have his fingerprint on everything we do," said Deggs.