Bowling Green, Ky. — Western Kentucky University head baseball coach Chris Finwood announced on Tuesday that Matt Myers has been added to the Hilltopper staff as the team’s new pitching coach. Myers replaces Ryan Halla, who left to pursue other opportunities after two years in the position.
Myers, 32, spent the last three seasons as an assistant coach at Auburn, and coached alongside Finwood on Tom Slater’s Tiger staff in 2005.
We are so excited about Matt joining our coaching staff,” said Finwood. “I really enjoyed our year working together at Auburn, and watched Matt do a tremendous job in developing the pitching staff during that year. He has great enthusiasm and great relationships with his pitchers, and really gets the most out of all of his guys.”
In his first year at Auburn, Myers helped lead the Tiger pitching staff to a 3.89 team ERA, the lowest by an Auburn staff in 10 years. The team also posted 21 saves and surrendered just 169 walks during the ‘05 season — the fewest walks issued by any staff in the Southeastern Conference. Myers saw four of his pitchers selected in the first 13 rounds of the 2005 MLB First-Year Player Draft.
“I have the utmost respect for Chris Finwood and the way he goes about his business on the field. He’s a great family man and someone that makes everyone around him better,” said Myers. “To get the chance to work with him once again was a no-brainer. I’ve followed what he and Andrew Slater have been able to do up here the last couple of years, and to come here and see the support from the administration, the campus and the community makes this a great fit for me. There is no question that this program can be in an NCAA Regional every year.”
Prior to his arrival at Auburn, Myers served as the head coach at UNC-Asheville for four seasons, earning Big South Conference Coach-of-the-Year honors in 2003.
One of the youngest Division I head coaches, Myers directed Asheville to a school-record 27 wins and a tie for second in the Big South in ‘03. The Bulldogs finished in the top half of the league standings each of his final three seasons, including a school-record 13 league wins in 2004. As a head coach, Myers had seven pitchers sign professionally and saw four others earn Freshman All-America honors. During his time with the Bulldogs, his pitching staffs set five different school records and finished in the top half of the league statistics each season. He served as an assistant coach at UNC Asheville for a season before being named the school’s sixth head coach in June, 2000.
In all, Myers has coached 13 pitchers that have signed professional contracts, one first-team All-American and five freshman All-Americans.
“Matt has a great feel for every aspect of the game with his head coaching experience, and will bring so much more to our staff than just running the pitching staff,” added Finwood. “He has played for some legendary coaches and I think will be a big part of us taking the next step toward winning a Sun Belt Conference championship. We just feel very fortunate to be able to have him become a Hilltopper.”
As a player, Myers pitched two seasons at Tennessee (1996-97), posting a 13-4 career mark and helping the Volunteers to a pair of NCAA Regional appearances. His .765 winning percentage ranks fifth all-time at Tennessee. He also pitched a season at Cal State-Sacramento (1994) and Sacramento City College (1995).
A native of Carmichael, Calif., Myers is married to the former Michelle Gillum of Celina, Ohio. The couple has a son, Carson (4).
Myers will take over a Hilltopper pitching staff that returns all three of its weekend starters, including 2007 Freshmen All-Americans Bart Carter and Matt Ridings.