Troy names new coach: Gierke tapped as assistant baseball coach

Published 3:00 am Friday, June 12, 2015

Shane Gierke has been named Troy University baseball assistant coach, head coach Mark Smartt announced on Wednesday. Gierke has spent the last 12 seasons as an assistant at the University of West Florida.

“I’m proud to be a part of a coaching staff at a university with so much tradition,” Gierke said. “I can’t thank Coach Smartt and the Troy administration enough for their support. It’s very exciting and humbling for me and my family.”

“My background is in recruiting and I think it translates very well. Obviously, I’ve recruited the state of Alabama a lot over the years. Six or seven of the starters on our national championship club were from Alabama. The contacts that I have in Alabama and Florida translate well in terms of having success at Troy.

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For the past eight years, Gierke has served as the recruiting coordinator for the Argonauts and has overseen catcher development and hitting instruction. Gierke worked two seasons as an assistant under former head coach Jim Spooner starting in 2004, and he coached his 10th year as assistant head coach under Mike Jeffcoat in 2015.

“I am excited that Shane has decided to join our staff at Troy University,” Smartt said. “He has had great success as a coach and recruiter at the University of West Florida, his alma mater.”

“They won the 2011 Division II National Championship and contend annually for the NCAA Tournament. Shane has a unique ability as a recruiter and is familiar with the region in which we have to have success recruiting. He is an outstanding coach that has helped build quality offensive teams during his tenure at UWF. I have no doubt that Shane will make a significant impact on the Troy baseball program immediately. We welcome Shane, his wife, Veronica, and their son, Jackson, to the Trojan family.”

Since Gierke took over as hitting coach at UWF, the team enjoyed some of its best offensive seasons in school history. In 2011, the Argonauts won the NCAA Division II national championship and set school records in runs (449), hits (638) and walks (267). As a team, UWF batted .326 and averaged 7.4 runs per game, led by All-Americans Greg Pron and Brandon Brewer.

The Argonauts also hit .306 in 2009 and .315 in 2010, two of the top offensive seasons in school history. In eight seasons with Gierke as hitting coach, the team has batted at least .290 every year except one, produced 36 All-GSC position players and advanced to the NCAA Tournament five times.

Gierke was also instrumental in UWF’s recruiting efforts, highlighted by several major league prospects. Gierke recruited all 11 Argonauts that have been drafted by major league teams, including five players in 2011 after the team’s national championship season. In his 12 years with the coaching staff, UWF has produced a total of eight All-Americans, 26 All-Region honorees and 77 All-GSC players.