Dick Cooke is in his 25th season as head coach of the Davidson Wildcats baseball program. He has also served as the Senior Men's Administrator for the past 11 years, began a three-year appointment as the chair of the NCAA Baseball Rules committee in 2012 and has coached for USA Baseball.
No other coach in Davidson history has coached or won as many games as Cooke. During his tenure, Cooke has compiled a record of 466-739-1. He coached in his 1,000th game during the 2009 season. Ten of Cooke's Davidson players have been selected in the Major League Baseball draft, including left-handed pitcher Chris Lamb (11th round, 346th overall by the Oakland A's) and right-handed pitcher Andy Bass (18th round, 570th overall by the Tampa Bay Rays) after the 2011 season.
Cooke is coming off his most successful season to date, as he led Davidson to program records for overall wins (29), SoCon wins (17) and modern-era winning percentage (.604). The 'Cats finished second in the SoCon for the first time since 1987, despite being picked last in the coaches' preseason poll. A record six Wildcats were named to the 2014 All-Southern Conference Baseball teams, highlighted by Forrest Brandt earning co-player of the year honors from the league's coaches. Four were first team selections, tying a Davidson record set in 1987.
The SoCon's coaches and media recognized the accomplishments by naming Cooke the Coach of the Year.
Associate Head Coach
Promoted to associate head coach for his third season at Davidson, Rucker Taylor has guided a complete turnaround of the Wildcats' offense as the hitting coach. He also serves as the recruiting coordinator, scouring the country to bring the top athletic and academic talent to Davidson.
"He has made a tremendous impact in all facets of our program in his time here," said head coach Dick Cooke. "His influence on our players' development is evident and he has also worked tirelessly recruiting across the country to find the unique student-athletes that can be successful on and off the field here at Davidson."
Under Taylor's tutelage, the Wildcats improved their team batting average 20 points in 2013 from the season prior, and then saw it surge an additional 43 points to .303 last season, which ranked 14th in the nation and second in the Southern Conference. The boost at the plate led Davidson to its winningest season in program history, as the 'Cats set program records for overall wins (29), SoCon wins (17) and modern-era winning percentage (.604). The 'Cats finished second in the SoCon for the first time since 1987, despite being picked last in the coaches' preseason poll.
Ryan Munger joined the Davidson baseball coaching staff for the 2013 season and is serving as an assistant coach this season.
"We're excited to have Ryan join our staff as he has a great baseball background, has a passion for the game and is highly motivated to make this his chosen career," said Cooke. "We look forward to the positive impact he'll have as he shares his experiences from having played in an academically challenging environment."
In his first season with Davidson, Munger assisted with hitting instruction, and the team batting average improved 43 points from the season prior. Davidson returned seven starters in 2014, and they all raised their batting averages - from a minimum of 22 points to a maximum of 130 points - for an average increase of 49 points amongst the seven. They all increased their RBI totals and, with the exception of one, all increased their home run totals. Ultimately, the 'Cats set program records for overall wins (29), SoCon wins (17) and modern-era winning percentage (.604).
Volunteer Assistant Coach
Tim Riemer begins his first season with the Davidson baseball program.
Riemer was a former professional player in the Cleveland Indians organization where he played in the NY-PENN league as a catcher for the Watertown Indians in 1989. He was an assistant coach after his professional stint at St. John Fisher College in 1992, serving as a hitting instructor and directed strength and conditioning programs for all the baseball players.
Currently an independent strength and conditioning coach in Davidson, N.C., Riemer also managed the Newark Barge Bandits in Newark, N.Y., in 1995. He handled all on-field baseball operations for the Class A team in the North Atlantic League.