Appalachian Power Park
2016 Conference USA Head Coach of the Year
In 10 seasons, 33 Marshall players/signees have been given a chance to play at the professional level under Head Coach Waggoner, including major leaguers Dan Straily (2009, 24th round – Oakland A’s) and Aaron Blair (2013, first supplemental round – 36th overall – Arizona Diamondbacks). Waggoner has won over 230 games in his coaching career.
2016 was a record season for Marshall under the instruction of Coach Waggoner. The Herd won a program record 34 wins, including a win over 17th-ranked Florida Atlantic. Marshall also set a program record 21 wins in Conference USA play. Marshall boasted its highest RPI of 60. Coach Waggoner received the Keith LeClair Coach of the Year award from C-USA. The Thundering Herd lineup featured three C-USA All-Conference first team players (Chase Boster, DJ Gee, Tommy Lane), one C-USA All-Conference second team player (Corey Bird) and a member to the All-Freshman team (Joshua Shapiro). Lane was selected as the Newcomer of the Year for Marshall. The Herd also found success in the classroom with a 3.01 GPA during the fall semester.
The 2016 MLB amatuer draft featured four players from the Herd, second most in a single draft. Corey Bird was drafted by the Miami Marlins in the seventh round with the 203rd overall pick. Burris Warner was the second player drafted in the 22nd round to the Detroit Tigers. JD Hammer followed in the 24th round to the Colorado Rockies. Parker Danciu rounded out the group in the 39th round to the Atlanta Braves.Waggoner’s 2014 and 2015 seasons produced All-Conference performers, with Boster earning All-Conference USA second team honors in 2015. Bird was chosen to the All-Freshman team in 2014.After the 2013 season, Waggoner saw two Thundering Herd players selected in the Major League Baseball Draft. A total of 12 players were selected over the last three seasons, while 26 of his student-athletes have received an opportunity to play professional baseball under his tutelage. Aaron Blair (first supplemental round – 36th overall – to the Arizona Diamondbacks) and Isaac Ballou (15th round to the Washington Nationals), the 2013 draftees, became the 14th and 15th members of the Herd to be selected after serving on one of Waggoner’s teams.One year prior, pitchers Joe Church (17th round to the San Diego Padres) and Mike Mason (24th round to the Colorado Rockies) were selected.
Waggoner’s last three teams have produced All-Conference performers, with Blair and Ballou garnering All-Conference USA first team honors in 2013 after Blair and Sergio Leon were named All-Freshmen in 2011 and 2012, respectively.
The 2011 season featured eight players who would go on to be drafted by MLB teams and two players who were signed as free agents. Greg Willams (Texas Rangers), Mike Mason (Texas Rangers), Joe Church (Los Angeles Angels), Isaac Ballou (Pittsburgh Pirates), Kenny Socorro (Chicago Cubs), Arik Sikula (Toronto Blue Jays), Shane Farell (Toronto Blue Jays), Rhett Stafford (Oakland Athletics) were each drafted in the 2011 MLB, marking the most drafted players in a season in Marshall baseball history. Victor Gomez (Atlanta Braves) and Ian Kadish (Toronto Blue Jays) were also picked up by big league teams as free agents.Along with the most drafted players in a season, Waggoner’s club had four players earn Conference USA honors. Kenny Socorro was selected to the All-Conference USA team as an infielder and freshman, Aaron Blair, was named to the Conference USA All-Freshman team. Kyle Blank and Arik Sikula both earned academic recognition through the conference, after being picked to the Conference USA All-Academic team.
A total of 41 records have been broken under Waggoner, including 23 team and 18 individual marks. Waggoner has also posted victories against 14 ranked opponents, including knocking off then No. 1 Rice in 2009. In 2010, MU defeated No. 17 Ohio State and No. 25 Rice during the regular season. In 2012, Waggoner led Marshall to a senior day victory over No. 13 UCF. In 2013, his squad topped No. 19 Houston in games one and two of a three-game series. In 2016, the Herd defeated No. 17 Florida Atlantic.
In 2008, during his second season at Marshall, Waggoner led the Herd to 30 wins, the second most in program history. The Herd notched a 30-30-1 overall record and finished sixth in C-USA, with a berth in the 2008 Entergy C-USA Baseball Championship tournament hosted by Tulane.At the tournament, Marshall defeated third-seeded Tulane twice, and second-seeded Southern Miss twice, before falling to Houston in the championship game, 3-2. All three of those teams were NCAA Regional participants in 2008. For his efforts, Waggoner was named All-Pavlovich Team Coach of the Year in “Collegiate Baseball” Newspaper.During his 10 seasons with the Herd, Waggoner has collected 231 wins, second most at the helm of the Thundering Herd baseball program. 33 Marshall players/signees have been given a chance to play at the professional level. In the 2010 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft, Kevin Shackelford, Ryan Kiel and Aaron Blair were selected. Other notable players drafted include Steven Blevins, Tommy Johnson and Nate Lape in 2008, while Eddie Rush and Dan Straily were picked in 2009.
Straily is one of a dozen currently playing at the next level and has made his way into the Major Leagues. The right-handed arm spent two seasons at Double-A Midland before being promoted to Triple-A Sacramento during the summer of 2012. Straily ultimately received a call from the Oakland Athletics and pitched in 39.1 innings over seven starts at the conclusion of the 2012 season before becoming a regular member of the A’s rotation in 2013. In the 2014 season, Straily was traded from the A’s to the Chicago Cubs. In 2015, Straily made four appearances for the Houston Astros. Straily found his way back into the starting lineup with the Cincinnati Reds in 2016.
Prior to the 2010 campaign, the Herd placed three players (Blevins, Lape and Gomez) on All-C-USA teams, while two (Lape and Gomez) were named to all All-Mideast Region squads. Adam Yeager, Gomez and Lape all played summer ball in the prestigious Cape Cod Baseball League.
In his first season with the Herd, Waggoner led the squad to a 21 wins that included 15 victories at home. The Alliance, Ohio, native helped lead Marshall to series wins against both Memphis and Houston.Before taking over the head coaching position at Marshall, Waggoner spent two seasons as an assistant with the nationally-ranked North Carolina State University Wolfpack.
While with the Wolfpack, Waggoner was a part of two N.C. State teams that had a combined record of 81-41 and played in two NCAA tournaments. In 2006, N.C. State finished second in the ACC Tournament and was runner up in the NCAA Austin Regional. The Wolfpack ranked as high as seventh in the nation that season while finishing third nationally in hitting (.333) and second in the ACC in fielding percentage (.970). A total of six players were named to All-ACC teams, with two (Ramon Corona and Matt Camp) claiming All-America honors.
Waggoner’s responsibilities with the Wolfpack included player development, recruiting, academic support, travel and directing N.C. State’s summer baseball camps.
Before his arrival in Raleigh, Waggoner spent two seasons at Kent State University. The Golden Flashes captured the 2004 MAC Tournament Championship during his tenure and also had seven players selected in the Major League Baseball draft, including first round draft pick Emmanuel Burriss. Burriss has played seven years in the Majors with San Francisco, Washington and Philadelphia.
He was also an assistant coach at George Washington University from 2000-02, where he helped guide the Colonials to a school record for wins in a season (42) and the Atlantic 10 championship in 2002. George Washington led the A-10 and was among the national leaders in both batting average (.326) and home runs (91) that season. The Colonials posted a two-year record of 80-45 during Waggoner’s stay, and five GW players were selected in the MLB draft.
Before his two years at George Washington, Waggoner spent the 2000 season at the College of St. Rose in Albany, N.Y., helping St. Rose earn a berth in the Division II College World Series.Waggoner has worked with two collegiate summer baseball teams. He was the head coach of the Arlington Senators of the Clark Griffith League in 2002, guiding the Senators to a 32-10 regular-season record, the Clark Griffith League championship, and the All-American Amateur Baseball Association (AAABA) national championship. Prior to that, he was an assistant coach for the Schenectady Mohawks of the New York Collegiate League in 1999 and 2000.
Waggoner lettered two years as a catcher at Cleveland State University, and graduated with a sport management degree in 1998. He played two years at Crowder College in Neosho, Mo., prior to transferring to Cleveland State.Waggoner received his master’s degree in Educational Psychology from St. Rose in 2001. He has two daughters, Kacee and Madelyn.
Newman enters his second season on the Marshall baseball coaching staff and is serving as the Herd pitching coach.
Most recently a volunteer assistant at Ohio State, Newman spent three seasons on the Buckeye coaching staff after being hired in July 2010.
The Ohio State pitching staff, under the guidance of Newman and pitching coach Mike Stafford, improved dramatically over the last three seasons. After the staff posted a 4.94 ERA in 2011, the Buckeyes improved to a 3.24 ERA in the 2013 campaign. In 2013, Ohio State ranked in the Top 40 nationally in every pitching category including walks per nine innings (8th, 2.45), strikeout-to-walk ratio (15th, 2.75), WHIP (17th, 1.19), hits per nine innings (33rd, 8.29) and ERA (38th, 3.24).
Ohio State had three pitchers earn All-Big Ten honors in 2013. Newman has also helped Buckeyes into the next level as right-hander John Kuchno was a 2012 18th-round selection by the Pittsburgh Pirates before Brad Goldberg was taken by the Chicago White Sox in the 10th round this season and Brett McKinney’s 19th round selection by the Pirates.
A native of Wheelersburg, Ohio and a 2004 Ohio State graduate, Newman ranks third all-time at Ohio State in career wins (32), innings pitched (369.0) and strikeouts (291). He was a freshman All-American in 2001 and a three-time All-Big Ten honoree, including a first-team selection in 2004.
In his career, Newman helped the Buckeyes to a 161-84-1 record, a Big Ten regular season championship (2001) and two Big Ten Tournament championships (2002 and 2003). Ohio State went to three NCAA Regional tournaments and hosted an NCAA Super Regional (2003) in his four years in Columbus.
Newman was drafted in the 19th round of the 2004 MLB Draft and signed a professional contract with the Colorado Rockies. He had previously been drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in 2003 but he elected to stay at Ohio State for his senior season.
The Wheelersburg High School graduate spent three seasons in the minors before making his Major League debut against Philadelphia on Sept. 12, 2007, and making the Colorado Rockies World Series roster that season. He jumped between Triple-A Colorado Springs and the Rockies in 2008 before being claimed off waivers by the Kansas City Royals in July. Newman pitched in 14 games over his two seasons between Colorado and Kansas City, making his last appearance in September 2008.
Marshall baseball’s all-time home run leader, Victor Gomez, has returned to accept an assistant coaching position for the Thundering Herd, head coach Jeff Waggoner announced in August.
“Marshall baseball is very excited to have one of its greatest players of all time return to Huntington,” Herd coach Jeff Waggoner said. “I was very lucky to coach Victor. We had over 200 applicants apply for this job, but I chose Victor because I was very excited to work alongside of him as a coach. He has a coach’s mind and he was always an extension of the coaching staff here as a player. Victor is a perfect fit for the program and we are very excited and lucky to have him.”
The Miami native rejoins the Herd after an impressive career from 2008-11. Gomez leads Marshall all-time in eight offensive categories, including games played (217), at bats (849), hits (294), doubles (48), home runs (52), RBIs (211), total bases (510) and sacrifice files (20). In his first season with the Herd, Gomez was named to the All-Conference USA Freshman Team and All-C-USA Second Team. He also was named to the Louisville Slugger’s Freshmen All-American team and ABCA All-Mideast Region Team. As a sophomore and junior, he was named to the All-C-USA First Team.
Gomez signed a minor league contract with the Atlanta Braves in 2011. In Aug. 2012, Gomez signed with the Florence Freedom of the Frontier League.
“I’m very excited and grateful for this opportunity to be back with the Marshall baseball program,” Gomez said. “I’m thrilled to work with the hitters alongside Coach Waggoner who has overseen the hitters the last 10 seasons. Marshall and Huntington have always held a special place in my heart. I’m excited to come in and work hard so we can build off the success of last season.”
Gomez graduated from Marshall University in 2013 with a regents Bachelor of Arts degree. He remained in Huntington from April-Aug. 2013 as he served as an assistant coach for Huntington High School and the 16U Huntington Hounds travel summer baseball team.
Gomez returned to Miami in Aug. 2013 to become an assistant coach with LaSalle High School. He helped train student-athletes, provide staff support and coached fall teams. In January of 2014, Gomez accepted a job with Miami Dade College as an assistant baseball coach and recruitment coordinator.
This past summer Gomez was the head baseball coach with the Front Royal Cardinals of the Summer Collegiate Valley Baseball League. He was responsible for recruitment of players, camp management, running practices and instructing players on baseball techniques.
Heath Storey joined the Herd program in 2014.A native of Kennett, Mo., Storey attended Jefferson College in Hillsboro, Mo., and helped to lead Vikings to national rankings in both the 2007 and 2008 seasons.
Storey graduated with a bachelor’s degree in secondary education from Flagler College, where he completed his collegiate career as a relief pitcher for the Saints. This will be Storey’s fourth coaching stop.
He served as assistant coach for Ponte Vedra (FL) High School and head coach at North Pemiscot (Mo.) High School before returning to Flagler this past year to serve as an assistant coach.
Storey served as the pitching coach for the Wisconsin Woodchucks for the Northwoods League in the summer of 2015.
In the summer of 2014, Storey served as the pitching coach for the Amsterdam Mohawks of the Perfect Game College Baseball League. The Mohawks won the regular season and postseason tournament with a 40-11 record and held a league-leading ERA of 2.59.
Brian Karlet joined Marshall’s baseball staff as an assistant coach in the fall of 2012.
Karlet graduated with a degree in communications from Georgetown College, where he was named to the Mid-South all-conference team at the end of his senior year. Following graduation, Karlet earned a Master’s degree in athletic administration while serving as Director of Baseball Operations at Marshall University. After two years with the Thundering Herd (2005-2007), Karlet returned to his alma mater as the top assistant coach for the Tigers. Karlet worked with the team for two seasons before receiving a promotion to head coach in 2009.
Under Karlet’s guidance, the Tigers never finished lower than third place in the Mid-South Conference. Karlet sported a 58-56 record at the helm of the Tigers’ baseball program and a 35-21 record in conference play.
Karlet resides in South Point, Ohio with his wife, Kelley, and two sons, Jaxson and Cooper.
Hitting Coordinator – Cleveland Indians
Jim Rickon is now in his third year as the hitting coordinator for the Cleveland Indians. He spent the previous twelve years working in the Indians organization as a player development coach and has also made several stops as a hitting coach with different minor league levels within the Indians organization.
Throughout the fifteen years with the Indians, Rickon has worked with countless Major League players, including Victor Martinez, Jim Thome, Mike Napoli and Francisco Lindor among others.