Socastee alumnus Lemonis named Indiana head coach

lemonis2Myrtle Beach native and Louisville assistant Chris Lemonis was hired as the head baseball coach at Indiana University on Thursday.

Lemonis, a 1988 graduate and all-state player at Socastee High, was named the 24th head coach of the Hoosier baseball program after earning the 2013 ABCA/Baseball America Assistant Coach of the Year award.

“We are extremely pleased with the extensive interest in this position, from head coaches to assistant coaches and others associated with collegiate and professional baseball,” Vice President and Director of Athletics Fred Glass said. “From those outstanding candidates, we are confident we have selected the right one to lead Indiana Baseball.”

Indiana, the No. 4 overall seed in the 2014 NCAA Tournament, conducted a comprehensive, nationwide search and consulted some of the most recognized names in baseball, including Major League Baseball All-Star and Indiana native Scott Rolen.

Lemonis’ imprint in elevating the Louisville program to new heights has been evident. The former Cardinals’ recruiting coordinator aided Louisville to three College World Series appearances (2008, 2013, 2014) and a 359-159 (.693) record during the past eight seasons, including back-to-back 50-win seasons in 2013 and 2014.

Working under Louisville head coach Dan McDonnell, Lemonis has helped the Cardinals produce 15 All-Americans, 54 all-conference selections and a pair of conference Player of the Year winners. Entering his 21st season in coaching and first as a head coach, Lemonis takes over an IU program that has gone 93-31 during the past two seasons, including its first-ever College World Series appearance in 2013 and the No. 4 overall seed in the 2014 NCAA Baseball Championship.

“I am really excited for the opportunity to join one of college baseball’s hottest programs at Indiana,” Lemonis said. “I am thankful Fred Glass and the administration have faith in me to keep the momentum rolling and keep the Hoosiers at the top of the Big Ten.

“Our staff will do everything we can to recruit the state of Indiana and the entire Midwest to bring the best baseball players to Bloomington. We will play an exciting brand of baseball and are confident we can continue the championship tradition that has been established at IU.”

Known as one of the premiere hitting coaches and recruiters in college baseball, Lemonis built a pristine track record in 20 years as an assistant that included continuous Top 25 recruiting classes and 12 visits to the NCAA Tournament.

Lemonis mentored 33 players that signed professional contracts after being selected in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft during the last eight years, including a school-record 10 selections in the 2010 MLB Draft.

Lemonis helped Louisville win four BIG EAST championships in the school’s final five years in the conference and he saw U of L set the school record for wins in a season three different times, including 2013, when the Cardinals won a current-best 51 games.

Prior to his time at Louisville, Lemonis spent 12 seasons as an assistant coach at his alma mater, The Citadel, including the final four as associate head coach. While at The Citadel, the Bulldogs recorded five NCAA Regional appearances and finished first or second in the Southern Conference seven times.

Photo courtesy of Uof L Athletics

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