|Sixteen years later Drew Briese is back into a Centre uniform as the new head coach.
Birmingham-Southern athletics photo
DANVILLE, Ky. – After a nationwide search, Centre College is pleased to welcome back Drew Briese, class of 2000, as its new Head Baseball Coach.
"Rachel, class of 1999, and I are extremely excited to bring our family back to the Bluegrass State and back to a place we call home at Centre," Briese said. "Director of Athletics Brad Fields and the entire staff have been more than welcoming as we make the transition back to Centre."
"I am thankful to Dr. John Roush and Brad Fields for their confidence in me and the shared vision we all have for the future of Centre Baseball."
"We will work diligently to ensure that our student-athletes have a baseball experience that mirrors their Centre Experience; one where growth and maturity are valued, will and effort are necessities, and persistence in the face of obstacles is the path to achievement."
"As our committee combed through the more than 230 official applicants for the position in our nationwide search, two critical factors guided our review – 'fit' as well as a sustained history of success. I cannot think of a better 'fit' than Drew and the success that he has been a part of at Birmingham Southern over the past decade has been equaled by few at the Division III level."
Briese returns to Danville after serving as an Assistant Baseball Coach at perennial NCAA Division III and Southern Athletic Association (SAA) power Birmingham Southern since 2006. With the Panthers, his duties included working as the Panthers' hitting coach, catching coach and third base coach, while also formulating defensive alignment and positioning.
During his time with the Panthers, Birmingham Southern enjoyed a great deal of success, including 10 conference tournament and regular season titles with four straight NCAA Division III Regional appearances.
Briese and the Panthers captured four consecutive regular season championships and two of the last three SAA Tournament crowns. Since 2008, Birmingham Southern has posted a 281-99 record, a winning percentage of .739.
The Panthers won the SAA Regular Season and Tournament Championship in 2016, climbing to as high as No. 4 in the NCAA Division III National Rankings.
The Panthers have also featured 64 all-conference performers, 14 American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) All-South Region honorees, seven All-Americans, one National Gold Glove recipient, one National Player of the Year, three Major League Baseball (MLB) draft selections and seven conference player/pitcher of the year honorees since 2008.
One of the top hitting clubs in Division III under Briese' tutelage, Birmingham Southern paced the country with 516 total hits and ranked seventh in the nation with 99 doubles in 2016. The Panthers also led Division III in slugging percentage (.595) in 2010 while sitting second in the country with a .376 team batting average.
Off the field, Briese was responsible for academic oversight, which saw Birmingham Southern post a team grade point average of 3.0 or above for 12 consecutive semesters, as well as recruiting coordination, strength and conditioning development among other vital duties.
In addition to coaching at the collegiate level, Briese also currently serves as a coach and member of the Scouting Task Force for USA Baseball, a role he has fulfilled since the summer of 2013. He was named a 2016 15u National Team Assistant Coach, a team that will compete in Iwaki, Japan this August.
During his time with USA Baseball, Briese has scouted over 60 teams and 900 players per year to make selections for Team USA.
After graduating from Centre in 2000 with a Bachelor of Art in History, Briese went on to obtain a Master's of Science in Kinesiology and Health Promotion with a concentration in Teaching and Coaching from the University of Kentucky in 2005. Briese and his wife Rachel have three children, Jack (13), Kate (8) and Finley (5).
"Throughout the process, Drew demonstrated his passion for baseball, for teaching and mentoring young men, and for this institution," Fields said. "With the infrastructure we have in place, Drew will lead Centre baseball to unprecedented success."