Driggers leaves McMurry

More news about: McMurry | Wheaton (Ill.)

Wheaton (Ill.) athletic director Tony Ladd announced the hiring of Lee Driggers as baseball coach. Driggers replaces Bobby Elder, who resigned in June after seven years at the helm of the Thunder. Driggers, who was head coach at McMurry, assumes a Wheaton program that tallied the most wins in school history with a 23-14 record in 2008 and its first-ever appearance in the four-team CCIW tournament.

"I've probably got 12 to 15 years left in my career," Driggers told the Abilene Reporter-News. "You do your normal evaluation of what you want to be doing in two years, three years down the road. I just felt like I was ready for a challenge if one presented itself."

Ladd said: "Coach Driggers is an exceptional match for Wheaton College athletics. He is a builder of programs and facilities -- two areas that match Wheaton's needs." Ladd adds, "He fits well with the exceptional coaching team that exists at Wheaton in that he has strong technical skills in coaching with a heart for ministry."

Driggers comes to Wheaton after 13 seasons at McMurry. Driggers has also served as head coach at Tarleton State and Hardin-Simmons and managed the Pittsburgh Pirates affiliate team to three winning seasons in the New York-Penn League from 1990-92.

"I am honored that Wheaton would choose me as its next baseball coach," said Driggers. "I am excited to build on the foundation that has been put in place by Coach Elder and the players that have been here ... I look forward to being part of the mission of Wheaton College and developing student-athletes in all aspects of their lives."

McMurry announced the promotion of John Byington from associate head coach to repace Driggers.

A Florida native, Driggers was drafted as a pitcher by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1968, playing in the Pioneer and Florida State League. In 1972 he earned a bachelor's in physical education from Central Florida and attained a master's in education from McNeese State in 1976. Lee and his wife Sharon have three children; daughters Kristi and Jodi and son Austin. Austin will be a freshman for the Thunder football team this fall.

In 15 seasons as a collegiate head coach, Driggers has compiled a record of 412-270-2. In 13 seasons at McMurry, Driggers' teams have won 62 percent of their games with a record of 350-218-2. He became the McMurry head coach in 1996, helping create a program from scratch as baseball had been discontinued at McMurry from 1949-95.

In his time at the school, he has guided the program to four American Southwest Conference Championships and four NCAA Tournament appearances. Among those under Driggers' guidance is two-time All-American Derek David, the 2008 D3baseball.com Player of the Year.