Notre Dame FINALLY hired a baseball coach. Former Florida State baseball alum and Colorado Rockies draft pick Link Jarrett was named Notre Dame’s 21st head baseball coach.
Jarrett was in South Bend through Wednesday and then hit the road recruiting, as this is a crucial time period for player evaluation.
Here’s the skinny on what the Irish get with Jarrett:
Arrives at Notre Dame after seven years as head coach at UNC Greensboro (UNCG). During his time with the Spartans, he guided the program to new heights, including their first-ever conference tournament championship in 2017 and the second-ever regular season championship in 2018. The Spartans won 34 or more games each of the last four seasons, the first such streak in program history. Jarrett led the Spartans back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 20 years in 2017, knocking off 23rd-ranked St. John’s at the NCAA Clemson Regional. In Jarrett’s tenure, the Spartan offense led the Southern Conference in hitting in five of his seven seasons and led the nation in average during the 2016 season.
Spartan baseball’s success hasn’t been limited to the field as the program has achieved high marks in the classroom as well. In three of the last four years, his programs achieved a cumulative GPA of at least 3.11 and during the 2017-18 year, the team’s 3.22 GPA was the highest of any male sport at UNCG.
Prior to his time in Greensboro, Jarrett spent three years at Auburn as the assistant coach/director of player development alongside head coach John Pawlowski. The Tigers averaged 34 wins per season and advanced to the Southeastern Conference Tournament each year – becoming just one of five SEC schools to accomplish that task. Jarrett was named SEC Assistant Coach of the Year by SEBaseball.com in 2010, his second conference assistant coach of the year award, as he helped the Tigers post a 43-17 overall record and capture the SEC West Division championship. Auburn advanced to the NCAA Tournament and hosted an NCAA Regional whereas hitting coach the Tigers batted at a .349 clip.
Before moving on to Auburn, Jarrett served as the hitting instructor and recruiting coordinator at East Carolina under then-head coach Billy Godwin. He helped the Pirates advance to the NCAA Tournament in his last three years, averaging over 40 wins per season thanks to a .639 winning percentage. In his final season in Greenville (2009), the Pirates finished with a 46-20 record and a Conference USA championship, culminating in an NCAA Super Regional berth. Jarrett copped his first conference Assistant Coach of the Year award from SEBaseball.com due to the Pirates on-field performance.
Jarrett spent two seasons at Mercer as the recruiting coordinator before moving to Greenville. In his first season, the Bears doubled their win total from their previous campaign. They went on to eclipse their win mark the following year, marking their first winning season since 1999.
In 2003, Jarrett returned to his Alma Mater, Florida State, assisting on the staff. The Seminoles finished the season with a 54-13-1 record, an ACC regular season championship and an NCAA Super Regional appearance.
Jarrett began his coaching career at NCAA Division II Flagler College in 1999. Over the course of three seasons at the helm, Flagler established school records in batting average, hits, doubles, fielding percentage, ERA and double plays, while posting a 108-63 record (.632). The Saints rose as high as the No. 5 national ranking during his tenure in St. Augustine, Fla.
jarrett was the starting shortstop on three College World Series teams at Florida State in 1991, 1992 and 1994. He earned NCBWA All-America honors as a junior and senior and still holds the NCAA record for career assists with 802. He also holds the FSU records for consecutive games played (235) and at-bats (989).
Jarrett was the 22nd round pick of the Colorado Rockies in the 1994 MLB Draft. He was voted the Most Spectacular Defensive Player in the organization in his rookie season while playing for the Bend (Ore.) Rockies in Single-A and then hit .303 for the New Haven Ravens (AA) in 1997.
Jarrett aims to change the current culture at Notre Dame, “It’s not bringing in ‘your guys.’ It’s not getting my recruits in here. That does not matter. These are great kids. It’s creating a culture and a path of development that helps them get better.”
And while he downplayed the need for updated facilities, and player amenities, it no doubt SHOULD be part of his plan in amping up recruiting and player development.
Here are my top-5 things the Irish need to do now to compete for ACC titles and NCAA Tournament berths?
New Identity/player buy in
Player development/skill training
The season will be here before we know. Will Notre Dame baseball take a step forward or continue to tread water?