Youngstown -- Steve Gillispie, an experienced recruiter and instructor who has spent the past 11 seasons helping to build a powerhouse in the Ohio Valley Conference, has been named Head Baseball Coach at Youngstown State University. He will be introduced as the Penguins' eighth head coach at a news conference on campus Wednesday.
As Jacksonville State's hitting coach and recruiting coordinator, Gillispie (pronounced Gill-ISS'-pee) helped lead the Gamecocks to nine 30-win seasons in an 11-year period from 2002 to 2012. JSU went 152-79 in OVC games since joining the conference in 2004 and won the regular season or tournament title five times in nine seasons. Gillispie has also served as an assistant coach at Nebraska, Utah and UAB, and he was the Southeastern Area Scouting Supervisor for the Philadelphia Phillies for four years. He has 25 total years of baseball experience at the NCAA, Major League and junior college levels.
"We are incredibly excited to have someone with Steve's success and experience lead our baseball program," Youngstown State Executive Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Ron Strollo said. "He was a committed assistant on a staff that saw Jacksonville State rebuild and sustain success. From his time as a recruiting coordinator and professional scout, Steve has demonstrated a high ability of identifying and signing talented players. Additionally, several people we spoke with raved about the quality of people that Steve and his family are. All of those things, coupled with his energy and passion for baseball, made him an ideal candidate for leading our program forward."
Within four seasons at Jacksonville State, Gillispie and head coach Jim Case turned a program that averaged 18.7 wins in the three years prior to their arrival into a conference champion. The Gamecocks won regular-season titles in 2005 and 2008 and advanced to the NCAA Regionals in 2004, 2006 and 2010. Jacksonville State also set an OVC record by winning 23 conference games in 2008, and JSU became the only team in OVC history to beat the No. 1 ranked team in the nation when it defeated Georgia in 2009.
On the individual level, Gillispie recruited or developed a two-time OVC Player of the Year, three OVC Freshmen of the Year, 23 first-team all-conference players, eight freshmen All-America picks, a TPX All-America selection and 135 academic all-conference student-athletes. Additionally, 19 Jacksonville State players were drafted or signed contracts with Major League teams in Gillispie's 11 seasons in the dugout. Gillispie's contributions were recognized by his peers as he was voted the OVC assistant most-ready to be a head coach each of the past four years. He was also named the Four-Year College Assistant Coach of the Year in 2010 by the Alabama Baseball Coaches Association.
Gillispie said he sees a bright future in the Penguins baseball program.
"I believe there is great potential in the YSU baseball program," Gillispie said. "The facilities are top-of-the-line, the resources will provide a vehicle to challenge for the Horizon League Championship, and, most importantly, the administration has a great desire for the program to be a healthy and vital part of Penguins Athletics."
"I am very thankful to Ron and his staff for extending this opportunity to be the head baseball coach at Youngstown State," Gillispie added. "Their professionalism and personal attention went above and beyond most, and the family atmosphere within the athletic department and the university was a great selling point for my family."
Prior to his time at Jacksonville State, Gillispie signed 19 players into the Phillies organization as the Southeastern Area Scouting Supervisor from 1998 to 2001. He was the hitting and outfield coach at UAB in the 1996 and 1997 seasons, and he served as an assistant coach and interim head coach at Utah in 1995. Gillispie's first Division I experience came in 1990 and 1991 at Nebraska. The Huskers went 79-48 in those two seasons, and Gillispie recruited three players who went on to earn First-Team All-America honors. One of those signees was eventual No. 1 overall draft pick Darin Erstad.
Gillispie's first head coaching experience came at Fort Hays State in 1988 and 1989. He went on to spend the 1992 and 1993 seasons as an assistant at Mendocino Junior College and the 1994 season as an assistant at Lassen Junior College.
Gillispie, a 48-year-old originally from Beatrice, Neb., played collegiately at Northwest Missouri State and Fort Hays State. He is married to the former Denise Lamar from Birmingham, Ala., and the couple has a daughter, Morgan.