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Andy Sawyers Appointed Head Baseball Coach

large_Banner_PhotoCAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. – Southeast Missouri State University Director of Athletics Brady Barke has named Andy Sawyers the sixth head coach of the Southeast Missouri baseball program.

Sawyers brings 18 years of collegiate coaching experience with him to Southeast Missouri, Sawyers’ first Division I head coaching job. Sawyers most recently served two seasons as the Associate Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator at Kansas State out of the Big 12 Conference. He oversaw the hitters and catchers defensively as well as helped coordinate recruiting at K-State.

“I am very excited to welcome Andy and his family to the Southeast Missouri State community,” Barke said. “Throughout the search process there were three main things I was looking for in our next head coach: great character, ability to recruit the region, and a talent to develop quality student-athletes. Andy excels in each of these areas. His postseason experience proves he knows how to win and compete on the national level.”

“I would like to thank Brady and President Vargas for the opportunity to become the head baseball coach at Southeast Missouri,” Sawyers said. “This is an incredible honor and I am appreciative of this wonderful opportunity.

“SEMO is a program on the rise. The conference championships, regional appearance, and upcoming facility enhancements speak volumes about the administration’s commitment to baseball. Coach Bieser and his staff did a marvelous job and I am looking forward to contributing to the progress that is already happening in our program. ”

In his 18 years of coaching, Sawyers has been to two College World Series, three NCAA Super Regionals, and 10 Regional Tournaments. He has mentored 39 Major League Baseball draft picks including two first-round picks and eight top-10 round picks.

The Wildcats ranked fourth in the Big 12 offensively with a .284 team batting average in 2016. The Wildcat offense registered a .400 slugging percentage, .372 on base clip, scored 335 runs, scattered 550 hits, knocked 100 doubles, 17 triples, and 30 home runs while driving in 300 runs.

mentored freshman Josh Rolette to earning Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American honors in 2016. He also helped guide Jake Scudder to the title of Big 12 Newcomer of the Year. In all, the Wildcats posted three student-athletes to All-Big 12 Teams last season.

media_sports_m-basebl_auto_wide_story_10182927-1434702440559The 2015 and 2016 seasons were Sawyers’ second stint at Kansas State, serving as an assistant coach for the Wildcats in 2009 and 2010. K-State went 80-30-1 over those two seasons and made consecutive NCAA Regional appearances, the first two in school history.

The 2009 campaign was a year of power for the Wildcats under Sawyers. The team hit 22 triples and 58 home runs, the most in both categories since 1997. The offense shined when it came to stolen bases as the 149 steals were the second-most in the nation and two shy of breaking the Big 12 record. Overall, the team finished among the Big 12 leaders in on-base percentage (second, .399), runs scored (second, 458), hits (second, 675), RBI (second, 420), doubles (third, 123), and fewest strikeouts (fourth, 393).

Six Wildcats earned All-Big 12 honors in 2009, including outfielder Nick Martini, who also garnered Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American honors, and Justin Bloxom and Carter Jurica, who finished fourth and eighth, respectively, in the Big 12 in batting average.

The 2010 squad matched the success of 2009 by also reaching the NCAA postseason, but the offense topped the previous season’s totals in batting average (.323 in 2010; .317 in 2009), runs per game (7.6 vs. 7.4) and OBP (.426 vs. .399).

Prior to his most recent stop at Kansas State, Sawyers spent four seasons as the Associate Head Coach at Texas A&M (2011-14). Those four seasons at Texas A&M represented the conclusion of Sawyers’ five total campaigns with the Aggies after he spent 2008 as a volunteer assistant coach.

In each of those five seasons, Sawyers helped Texas A&M reach an NCAA Regional while also winning two Big 12 championships. In addition, he coached standouts Tyler Naquin – 2011 Big 12 Player of the Year, All-American and a first round pick by the Cleveland Indians in 2012 – and Krey Bratson, a 2011 Freshman All-American.

Prior to his appointment at Texas A&M in 2008, Sawyers worked with current Aggie head coach Rob Childress as an assistant coach and the recruiting coordinator at Nebraska from 2003-07. While in Lincoln, he helped the Huskers earn four trips to the NCAA Tournament, including an appearance at the 2005 College World Series. Sawyers, who lettered two years at Nebraska, worked with 12 Huskers who were selected in the MLB Draft, including Alex Gordon, a two-time Big 12 Player of the Year. In 2005, Gordon won five national player of the year awards before being taken as the second overall pick by the Kansas City Royals.

Sawyers took on all hitting coach responsibilities at Nebraska beginning with the 2006 season, when the team batted .310 – its best mark in four years – and ranked in the top three of the Big 12 in home runs, stolen bases, OBP and slugging.

Also during his time in Lincoln, Sawyers served as the academic coordinator and worked with the catchers. Additionally, Sawyers helped the Huskers recruit their then-highest-rated class in school history, as the 2004 recruiting class was ranked 16th nationally by Collegiate Baseball.

After serving as the volunteer assistant at Nebraska in 2000, Sawyers spent the 2001 and 2002 seasons as the head coach at Hutchinson Community College, compiling an 87-30 record and two postseason berths. In 2001, the Dragons went 40-16 and won the Jayhawk West Sub-Regional, while the 2002 squad set a school record with 47 wins and was ranked as high as seventh by the NJCAA.

Sawyers’ coaching career began at Northwestern (La.) State in 1999 as a volunteer assistant coach, helping the Demons finish second in the Southland Conference.

Sawyers first played collegiately at Point Loma (Calif.) Nazarene College in 1994. Following a year off, he played at Mendocino (Calif.) Junior College in 1996 before finishing up his playing career at Nebraska.

A native of Willits, California, Sawyers received his bachelor’s (1998) and master’s (2000) degrees from Nebraska. He is married to the former Dena Lindeblad and the couple have one child, Andrew James (A.J.) who is six years old.

An introductory press conference is scheduled for 11 a.m., CT, Monday, Aug. 1, in the northeast corner of the upper concourse at the Show Me Center.

What They’re Saying about Andy Sawyers

Rob Childress, Head Coach at Texas A&M
“I’ve known Andy for almost 20 years. Andy was a special player and is an even better coach. He is an incredible team builder and a great leader who does an amazing job communicating and developing players on and off the field. I truly feel like he’s going to be a difference maker for Southeast Missouri State.”

Dave Jorn, retired Pitching Coach at Arkansas (SEMO Baseball alumni, 1975-76)
“Andy is a really good baseball coach, and probably an even better person. He’s a good family man and does things the right way. In our profession, winning is paramount, but it’s really about the kids in the long run. I feel very confident that with Andy, the kids come first and the winning will take care of itself. He’ll run the program the right way with integrity. I couldn’t be happier for him, and I think SEMO is getting the right guy to carry on the winning tradition.”

Alex Gordon, Kansas City Royals
“Coach Sawyers was a big part of my development at the University of Nebraska. He taught me skills on and off the field that have helped me become the player and man I am today. Southeast Missouri State has found an excellent coach and even better person.”

Dave Van Horn, Head Coach at Arkansas
“Andy played catcher for me my first year at Nebraska and then served as my volunteer assistant for a year. I knew right away he had a great feel for the game. Southeast is getting a polished coach with a great demeanor. He’s a great leader of young men on and off the field, and he is ready for this job. I’m excited for Andy and his family, and I look forward to watching the program at SEMO under Andy’s leadership.”

Kendall Rogers, National Writer and Editor, D1Baseball.com
Andy Sawyers is someone who has coached and learned under some outstanding coaches. He’s one of the better people in college baseball and he’s got a record of overall success everywhere he has been throughout his career.”

The Andy Sawyers File

Birthday
May 24, 1975 in Willits, California

Family
Dena (Lindeblad)
One son: Andrew James (A.J.), six years old

Education
Point Loma Nazarene College, San Diego, California, 1994
Mendocino College, Ukiah, California, 1996
University of Nebraska, B.A. in History, 1998
University of Nebraska, M.S. in Education, 2000

Playing Experience
Lettered two seasons at Nebraska (1997-98)

Coaching Experience
Northwestern State, Volunteer Assistant Coach (1999)
Kearney River Bandits (MINK League), Head Coach (1999)
Nebraska, Volunteer Assistant Coach (2000)
Hutchinson Community College, Head Coach (2001-02)
Nebraska, Assistant Coach (2003-07)
Texas A&M, Volunteer Assistant Coach (2008)
Kansas State, Assistant Coach (2009-10)
Texas A&M, Associate Head Coach (2011-14)
Kansas State, Associate Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator (2015-16)

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