When hired as the 13th head coach in McNeese Baseball history on June 21, 2013, Justin Hill's main focus was to bring a baseball program that was made of championship caliber in all aspects to McNeese State University
Hill's resolute efforts to return the Cowboys to being one of the top teams in the Southland Conference has culminated during his first two seasons at the helm. With a 32-25 overall record in 2015, the Cowboys recorded 30 wins for the 17th time in program history and back-to-back 30 win seasons for the first time since 2002-2003. Following 2015, Hill became just the third McNeese head coach to guide the team to back-to-back 30 win seasons in his first two seasons.
In just his second year as the McNeese skipper, Justin Hill led McNeese to back-to-back 30+ win seasons for the first time in over a decade, finished with the most conference victories (18) since 2006 and guided the Pokes to their fourth consecutive league tournament. He became the second fastest coach in program history to score 60 or more wins in only his first two seasons. Hill mentored Senior CLASS Award finalist and McNeese all-time hits leader Andrew Guillotte, NCBWA Stopper of the Year candidate Collin Kober and Johnny Bench Award nominee Cameron Toole in the process.
Associate Head Coach
Cory Barton joined the McNeese baseball program in July of 2013 and was promoted to Associate Head Coach in August of 2015. He begins his third season with the Cowboys in 2015-16.
Barton serves as the program's recruiting coordinator while also working with the Cowboy pitching staff. As the program's recruiting coordinator, he has helped bring in top-level talent in his first two seasons with McNeese. Barton is also a part of a movement envisioned by head coach Justin Hill that will help bring McNeese Baseball back to the forefront in Southwest Louisiana as the coaching staff is giving fans around the Lake Area a reason to make their way back out to Cowboy Diamond in the spring.
Barton has been instrumental to the Cowboys' success over the past two seasons, including back-to-back 30 win seasons in 2014 and 2015. With a 32-25 overall record in 2015, McNeese recorded 30 wins for the 17th time in program history and back-to-back 30 win seasons for the first time since 2002-2003. In 2014, the Cowboys surpassed 30 wins for the first time since 2010. After McNeese was picked to finish eighth and tenth in the 2014 Southland Conference Preseason Polls, the Cowboys rolled out two straight victories in the league tournament before bowing out in the semi-finals. McNeese posted a 17-13 SLC record for its most conference victories since 2012.
Nick Zaleski joins the McNeese baseball family after spending the last three seasons as a volunteer assistant for the UTSA Roadrunners. His knowledge of the game helped the UTSA baseball club produce some of the top offensive numbers in both the Western Athletic Conference and Conference-USA.
A member of the UTSA coaching staff since 2012, Zaleski mentored one of the top-10 offenses in school history. UTSA registered its most successful season since 2008 in 2013 when the team posted a 35-25 overall record and advanced to the program's third NCAA Regional after winning the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Tournament Championship.
That season, the Birds paced the WAC with a .299 batting average and 629 hits. RJ Perucki (.350/fifth) and Riley Good (.335/ninth) both ranked among the top 10 in batting averages in the league and the duo tied for second in the circuit with 84 hits apiece. Perucki, who earned first-team All-WAC accolades, also finished second in the conference with 132 total bases and third with 12 home runs, while Daniel Rockett, who was a second-team honoree, slugged .562 and finished third.
Jimmy Ricklefsen, who spent 15 years at McNeese as a player, assistant coach and head coach, and most recently as an assistant at Lamar, enters his second season as an assistant coach for the Cowboys.
After spending last season as a quality control coach, Ricklefsen was elevated to an assistant coach in the summer of 2016 by head coach Justin Hill.
Ricklefsen is a 1986 McNeese graduate and was an assistant coach under Tony Robichaux from 1988-94 helping the Cowboys to their first-ever Southland Conference championship in 1988 and two NCAA Regionals appearances (1988, 1993).