The University of Missouri Baseball team broke in the millennium with a new $2.1 million home, consisting of a new stadium, scoreboard and improved fencing and lighting. The stadium was the final major project on the west grounds of the Sports Park at Mizzou.read more
Mizzou will usher in a new era of baseball as Steve Bieser has been tabbed as the next head coach, announced June 30 by Director of Athletics Mack Rhoades. Bieser (pronounced: Bee-zer) will be Mizzou’s 14th head coach and just the fourth since 1937. Bieser comes to Mizzou after an extremely successful career at Southeast Missouri, where he became the only coach ever to win three consecutive Ohio Valley Conference Championships and guided the Redhawks to their first NCAA Regional last year since 2002.
A two-time OVC Coach of the Year, Bieser won 35 or more games in each of his last three seasons at SEMO, a feat that had been accomplished just once before he took over the program in 2013. Bieser turned in a .587 winning percentage in his time at SEMO, the best among any coach in program history.
Bieser turned in a banner year in 2016, as he earned his 100th career victory and opened OVC play with a perfect 12-0 record, the best start in program history. The season culminated in a regular season OVC Championship, an OVC Tournament title and the school’s first NCAA Regional since 2002, qualifying for the Starkville Regional at SEC Champion Mississippi State.
Bieser will be presented publicly in a press conference set for 11 a.m. Friday morning on top of the McArtor Baseball Facility at Taylor Stadium.
Hallmark comes to Mizzou after an impressive run at Rice, where he helped build the team into a national power. Aside from reaching NCAA Regional play in all 11 seasons with Hallmark on staff, Rice made three trips to the College World Series (2006-2008) with five Super Regional appearances. A proven winner and a catcher by trade, Hallmark transitioned to the Owls pitching coach role prior to the 2013 season and the team saw immediate success under his guidance. In 2015, Rice pitching finished 12th in the NCAA in strikeouts per nine innings (8.8) and registered the fifth-highest single-season saves total in school history (18) while also finishing among the NCAA’s top teams for ERA (3.16), hits allowed per 9.0 innings (8.2) and WHIP (1.27). A total of five Rice pitchers were selected in the 2015 Major League Draft.
In 2014, Rice pitching finished 13th in the NCAA with a new school record for ERA (2.56). The Owls were also 20th in the nation in both fewest hits allowed per game (7.7) and WHIP (1.19). Rice pitchers registered 18 saves while also finishing with the program’s lowest number of walks since the mid-1980s (192 walks in 573.1 inn., 3.0 per game). He mentored LHP Blake Fox to consensus All-America honors and 2014 Conference USA Pitcher of the Year accolades that year as well.
In his first year as pitching coach at Rice in 2013, his Owls set a Rice single season record with 12 shutouts, ranking second in the NCAA that year. Hallmark’s versatility as a coach was paramount to Rice’s success and appealed to Bieser, who was the model of versatility during his major league playing career. Before coaching pitchers, Hallmark was the Owls hitting coach and trained catchers and outfielders defensively.
Assistant Coach/Recruiting Coordinator
Lance Rhodes was brought to Mizzou from Southeast Missouri by head coach Steve Bieser. Rhodes was a vital part of the success that Southeast Missouri had under Bieser’s direction, serving as the program’s pitching coach and recruiting coordinator. He brought in some of top talent that Southeast Missouri has ever had, including two OVC Pitchers of the Year. His recruits were a key reason why the Redhawks went from 26 wins in his first year to 37 in his second, 36 in his third and 39 in his fourth, including an NCAA Regional in 2016. His 2014 signing class was the cornerstone of the team’s three consecutive regular season OVC Championships (2014-16). He recruited 16 players who went on to earn All-OVC honors over those three seasons.
Rhodes’ impact as pitching coach was felt quickly as well. He inherited a pitching staff with a combined ERA of 6.37 and lowered it to 4.00 last season. In 2015, Rhodes guided Southeast Missouri to OVC-bests in ERA and opponent batting.
Rhodes was the primary position coach for a pair of OVC Pitcher of the Year winners – two-time winner Joey Lucchesi and Travis Hayes. Lucchesi was outstanding during his draft year in 2016, posting a 2.19 ERA with 149 strikeouts, averaging 12.08 per nine innings.
Volunteer Assistant/Hitting Coach
Dillon Lawson will serve as Mizzou’s hitting coach and is coming off of a successful stint as the Houston Astros’ Class A affiliate hitting coach. He was the hitting coach for two Ohio Valley Conference Champion teams at Southeast Missouri from 2013-15 for Bieser.
Lawson was a key contributor to Southeast Missouri’s success under Bieser as he mentored an offense that ranked among the league’s best over his three seasons. During his second season with the Redhawks, the offense ranked ninth in the nation in batting and eighth in the nation in runs per game (7.2). Only eight teams in the nation scored more runs than SEMO that season. His offense also swiped the 10th-most bases in the nation in 2014 with 97 total steals.
His Redhawk offense was even better in 2015, ranking third in the nation in scoring, fifth in runs, sixth in on-base percentage and seventh in home runs. His team also drew the third-most walks in the nation that season and ranked 12th nationally with a .303 team average and in hits. Southeast Missouri averaged 8.0 runs per game and slugged 66 total homers.
Director of Baseball Operations
Evan Pratte enters his 19th season as part of the Mizzou staff. He enters his sixth year as the Tigers’ Director of Baseball Operations after spending the previous 13 years as an assistant coach, working with the hitters and infielders.
Serving as the Director of Baseball Operations, Pratte is still heavily involved in the success of the program. He handles a variety of responsibilities that ensure that the student-athletes at Mizzou get one of the best experiences possible while playing collegiate baseball. From arranging travel to handling a wide variety of daily activities, Pratte’s contributions help the entire team and coaching staff succeed. He also brings with him a wealth of baseball experience after spending years as a player and coach.
One of the best hitters while at Southwest Missouri State (now Missouri State), Pratte helped 34 Mizzou hitters to All-Conference recognition as the Tigers’ hitting coach from 1998-2010, including Aaron Senne and Brett Nicholas in 2010.