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Hilltoppers Introduce Marc Rardin as Head Baseball Coach

Published: Jun. 16, 2022 at 6:07 PM CDT
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - WKU Director of Athletics Todd Stewart has announced the hiring of Marc Rardin as the new head baseball coach of the Hilltoppers.

Rardin, who has spent the past 20 seasons as the skipper at Iowa Western Community College while making 12 JUCO World Series appearances and winning three NJCAA Division I National Championships, will become the 17th head coach for a WKU baseball program that began in 1910.

“We are excited to announce the hiring of Marc Rardin to lead our baseball program,” said Stewart. “A three-time National Coach of the Year, his 934 career wins as a head coach and .788 career winning percentage include 12 trips to the Junior College World Series and three National Championships. He is a proven winner and success on and off the field has been a constant with his program. He is a respected leader in his profession, and we are confident in the impact he will have on our players and the WKU baseball program.”

“I think the first thing that always keeps coming to mind is the excitement,” said Rardin. “The excitement that I got from Director of Athletics Todd Stewart and our conversations and just how we hit it off. Knowing about this program for years from being a junior college coach and having players that have come here and enjoyed their time here, I’m just excited to be here knowing that I can do my part and put this place higher up like it’s deserving to be, and that takes a lot of work. That takes getting the vision out there of not just how we’re going to play or how we’re going to have chances to win games, but the type of person we’re recruiting and the player they’re going to be and how they’re going to be out in the community.

“I’m excited for the energy that we’re going to play with that people are going to enjoy. Fans are going to have fun coming to the ballpark, and they’re going to have fun cheering on a player that they know is a great kid. My wife Dawn and I are just really excited that we get to come here and be a part of this and do our part each and every day in making this way better when the day is done than when we started. With everything I’ve heard and now seen, I’m just really excited to get started.”

Rardin and the Reivers accumulated numerous notable accomplishments during his time at the helm. During his 20 seasons at Iowa Western, the program won 15 Regional Championships and 12 District Championships while making 12 JUCO College World Series appearances and earning three NJCAA D1 National Championships. Rardin compiled a remarkable 934-252 (.788) record over that span while averaging more than 46 wins per season, including a 452-69 (.868) conference/regional record and 122-43 (.739) record in postseason play. Over the past 20 years, no other Division I junior college baseball program has won more games or more postseason championships than Iowa Western.

That success has resulted in Rardin earning three National Coach of the Year honors, 10 District Coach of the Year awards and 12 Louisville Slugger Coach of the Year accolades. He was also a 2015 inductee into the NJCAA Hall of Fame.

Rardin’s tutelage has led to student-athlete success both on the field and in the classroom. Since Rardin’s arrival to Iowa Western, the Reivers have seen 142 players sign with NCAA Division I programs while 101 student-athletes have earned First Team All-Region honors, 44 have received First Team All-Northern District recognition, 21 have been named NJCAA All-Americans and two have been tabbed NJCAA National Players of the Year.

Academically, the program has been named the NJCAA Spring National Academic Team of the Year nine times, with numerous student-athletes earning individual honors as well. The Reivers have had 58 NJCAA Academic All-Americans, 15 NJCAA Distinguished Academic All-Americans and one NJCAA Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year during Rardin’s time at Iowa Western.

Rardin and the Reivers’ three NJCAA D1 National Championships came in 2010, 2012 and 2014, with the team also earning national runner-up status in 2019. Iowa Western made NJCAA Division I baseball history by becoming the first Northern District team to win the World Series in 2010 while also leading the country with a .398 team batting average, with Brent Seifert recording a program-record .485 average at the plate. During the Reivers’ 2012 championship run, the team set a program record with 62 wins to go along with a nation-leading .403 batting average, while Tanner Krietemeier posted a program-best 1.78 ERA. The 2014 championship team compiled a 56-11 record en route to its 10th consecutive Regional Tournament Championship, finishing the season ranked second in the nation with a .354 batting average while seeing six players named as All-Region Performers.

Rardin has also accumulated experience in the national coaching circuit, serving as the assistant coach on the NJCAA/USA National Team in 2008 and 2010 while also spending the summer of 2014 as the head coach of the USA Junior College Team that participated in the 80th year of the NBC Tournament – earning a third-place finish in the tournament after being together as a team for only three weeks. In that same summer of 2014, Rardin was also invited to coach and instruct for the USA Baseball Organization. In both 2014 and 2015, he was selected to manage one of the teams while also helping to organize practices and evaluations with the 18U tryouts for the Tournament of Stars.

Before his time at Iowa Western, Rardin made stops at Lamar Community College, Yavapai College, Baylor University and Bluefield College in assistant roles. In the fall of 2003, he worked under Scott Crampton at Lamar Community College. From 2000-02, Rardin was an assistant for Sky Smeltzer at Yavapai College. He came to Yavapai from Baylor University, where he spent two years as the volunteer coach. Rardin’s first job in college baseball was at Bluefield College, where he served as the pitching coach. He has also accumulated five summers of coaching experience in the Jayhawk and Northwoods summer collegiate leagues.

Rardin began his collegiate playing career with a two-year stint at Indian Hills Community College before finishing out his eligibility at Iowa Wesleyan. He graduated from Starmont High School where he enjoyed a successful athletic career, lettering 14 times in four different sports.

Rardin and his wife, Dawn, have two sons – Tyler Maddux and Griffin Hill.

WKU will hold a press conference on Thursday, June 16 at 10 a.m. CT in the Paul Just Media Center located inside E.A. Diddle Arena to officially introduce Coach Rardin to the media and public.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING…

Rick Heller (Iowa Head Coach)

“I’ve known Marc since he was a player. I recruited him at Upper Iowa, so our relationship goes back a long way. Marc is a tough, hard-working, great baseball coach that cares about his players. This is a great hire for Western Kentucky. Marc is going to do great things there and they’re going to be thankful that they made this decision. He’s a winner.”

Jim Schlossnagle (Texas A&M Head Coach)”I congratulate Western Kentucky on a great hire. I have known and respected Marc for many years. He is a high character individual who identifies good players and then develops them into winners on and off the field. I am surprised he has not gotten a Division I head coaching position until now because he is more than qualified and ready, but Western Kentucky is now in very good hands with a very good man leading their program.”

Tim Tadlock (Texas Tech Head Coach)

“Marc has been one of the better baseball guys that I have known in the Midwest for some time now. I’m really excited that he’s been given the opportunity to keep doing it at Western Kentucky University.”

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