Monday, June 6, 2011

Head baseball coach candidate: Jim Blair

Jim Blair will interview for the head baseball coaching position on Tuesday. Blair has been an assistant for Mark Johnson the past five years at Sam Houston State. 

In Blair's tenure as recruiting coordinator, hitting coach and outfield coach, the Bearkats have produced the three best team batting averages and the top four season hitting totals in school history. The Kats produced an SHSU and Southland Conference record .335 mark in 2008. Prior to Blair's arrival, the school record for a season was .315 in 1980.

The past five seasons, the Bearkat offense has set more than 20 school records. Blair's hitters have been named All-Southland Conference a total of 18 times. Eight have been recognized as SLC All-Tournament 11 times. Two hitters (Bobby Verbick in 2007 and Todd Sebek in 2008) have earned NCAA Division I All-America honors. Verbick also was named 2008 Southland tournament MVP.

Braeden Riley led the NCAA in total hits in 2008 with a Southland record 111. In fact, the top four players in hits in one season in the SLC record book are Bearkats. Keith Stein (103 hits in 2007), Sebek (101 in 2008) and Nick Zaleski (99 in 2009) rank second, third and fourth, respectively. The Kats set the league mark for hits in a season by one team with 740.

Blair served four years as an assistant coach at the University of Texas-San Antonio where he worked as hitting, outfield, and third base coach. He coached two NCAA Division I All-Americans at UTSA and guided the Roadrunner hitters to a Southland Conference best 55 home runs in 2004. In 2005, UTSA hit a school record 30 triples to rank in the top 10 nationally.

Blair was a top hitter for Baylor, compiling a .335 career average as a three-year starter for Steve Smith. 

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