|Lake Erie athletics photo|
SPRINGFIELD, Ohio-- Wittenberg University has announced the hiring of Brian McGee as the head coach of the Tigers baseball program. McGee arrives in Springfield after spending the past nine seasons at Lake Erie College, where he served as head coach.
"First off I would like to thank our director of athletics Gary Williams for believing in me as someone who can take this program to the highest levels of NCAA III competition. I would also like to thank newly appointed head basketball coach Matt Croci and the rest of the search committee for giving me this great opportunity," said McGee.
"What has impressed me the most about Wittenberg thus far is not the obvious outstanding facilities, rich athletic traditions, or even the strong academic reputation of the college. It is simply the people whom I have come into contact with, ones who have been a part of the Wittenberg family in some capacity in their lives. Everyone is so proud and supportive of what a great place it is to learn, live, or work. Whether I am talking to a current student, alum, employee, or even an area resident the passion the Tigers have for this place is unmatched. I can not wait to not only be a part of the strong morale but help provide a continued and elevated experience for our student athletes."
McGee became the first coach in Lake Erie baseball program history, and just the second coach at Lake Erie in any sport, to win 100 games at the school in 2013. In his nine years, McGee built a competitive program as his squads improved significantly on the field, while undergoing the difficult transition from Division III to current active D-II status, and rewritten the school record books in the process.
The 2012 season was the program's high water mark as the Storm reached the 20-win plateau for the second straight year, finishing with a school-record 27 victories (27-26 overall record) and qualified for the GLIAC Tournament for the first time by earning the number three seed with a 22-14 league mark. The 22 wins were the second most by any team in the league, and included three against eventual GLIAC champion NCAA Tournament Participant Grand Valley State University. The season continued an upward trend of performance by the program and marked the fourth time in McGee's five seasons that the team set a school record for single-season victories.
"Brian made a very strong impression on all of us as someone who could make an immediate and lasting impact on our program. Brian has a contagious energy about him that I know our athletes will feed off of. We are so impressed with Brian's work ethic, character, and enthusiasm and we are very proud and thankful that he and his family have accepted our offer to join Wittenberg and lead our baseball program," said Dr. Gary Williams, Director of Athletics.
While at Lake Erie, McGee was responsible for the recruitment and development of current Major League Baseball player, Ryan Rua. A shortstop for the Storm, Rua was the school's first baseball All-American, being named to the Daktronics, Inc. Division II Team as an honorable mention selection and was also Lake Erie's first professional draft pick when he was taken by the defending American League champion Texas Rangers in the 17th round.
In 2014, Rua was named to the Texas League mid-season All-Star roster after batting .318/.397/.523 and hitting 12 doubles and 10 homeruns for the Double-A Frisco Roughriders. At the All-Star festivities, Rua captured the Homerun Derby title. He currently plays at the MLB level for the Texas Rangers, and was the opening day left fielder in 2015.
"I have extremely high expectations of myself and the potential for this program moving forward. I will work tirelessly to put this program back on the Division III baseball map. I can not wait to meet my guys, the players, the men who are going to make this experience worth it all," continued McGee.
"I have started to communicate with them and they seem like a hungry, determined, and willing bunch of guys. Can't wait to build strong lasting relationships with them, and previous alumni. In the end, it is all about the guys."
Prior to coming to Lake Erie, McGee was the assistant varsity and head junior varsity coach at Greensboro College from 2003-07. He coached third base and instructed the Pride infield, leading that group to its best statistical performances in the program's history. In 2006, the Greensboro infield finished 12th in the nation in fielding percentage. McGee also served as the assistant director and facility manager for Greensboro's student recreation center.
His additional coaching experience includes serving as the head coach of the Lake Erie Monarchs of the Great Lakes League in the summer of 2006 and as an assistant for the Wilmington Sharks of the Coastal Plain League in the summer of 2004.
McGee is a 1996 graduate of Amherst Steele High School and a 2000 graduate of Tiffin University, where he was a four-year letter winner and team captain for the Dragons. He earned his bachelor's degree in sports management from Tiffin before earning a master's degree in recreation and leisure studies from the University of Toledo in 2002.
McGee and his wife, Adriann, married in October of 2011. The couple has one baby girl, Georgina "Gigi" McGee.