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Tide Trio Set to Make Pro Baseball Debuts

Alabama seniors Kent Matthes, Vin DiFazio and Austin Hyatt have signed professional baseball contracts and will begin their minor league baseball careers this weekend.

Continued.....

Alex Avila Promoted to Detroit Tigers

It was just a routine day for Alex Avila.

The former Crimson Tide All-American and fifth-round draft pick was catching and batting fifth as the Erie (Penn.) Seawolves prepared for Tuesday's Eastern League game with the New Britain (Conn.) Rock Cats at Jerry Uht Park.

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Mitch Gaspard

 

Head Coach

Mitch Gaspard returns for his seventh year as the head baseball coach at The University of Alabama in 2016, owning a 202-167 career mark at the Capstone. In his first six years as the head coach of the Crimson Tide, Gaspard led the Tide to back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances in 2010 and 2011 and again in 2013 and 2014, a total that ties for the fourth-most regional appearances since his start in 2010. His teams have also averaged 34 wins per season and have reached the 30-win plateau in all but one season under his tutelage.

The 2015 season was not an ordinary one, as Alabama played its home games in numerous locations due to Sewell-Thomas Stadium remaining under construction all year. Despite barnstorming across the state of Alabama, the Crimson Tide still collected a 32-28 record that saw the team make it to the semi-finals of the 2015 Southeastern Conference Tournament. The 2015 squad claimed the program's 2,500th win when the Crimson Tide took down Maryland Eastern Shore on Feb. 15, and also earned Gaspard his 200th career win when the team handed sixth-ranked Vanderbilt its first shutout of the season on May 16.

Alabama's season also saw six players get drafted in the 2015 MLB First-Year Player Draft, five of which were selected before the 15th round. That total was the most in program history, while the six players taken were the Crimson Tide's highest tally since 2010.

Continued....

Dax Norris

 

Assistant Coach/Pitching Coach/Recruiting

Dax Norris enters his ninth season as assistant coach at The University of Alabama in 2016. Norris made his mark with Alabama baseball early on, earning All-America honors as a catcher for the Crimson Tide from 1995-96 under head coach Jim Wells and then-assistant coach Mitch Gaspard. He currently works with the pitchers while coordinating the Tide's recruiting efforts each season.

Norris, who was a hard-nosed player and one of the cornerstones of Alabama's baseball revival in the 1990s, has brought that same work ethic and intensity to the Crimson Tide coaching staff over the past eight seasons. He began his coaching career at the Capstone as the hitting instructor from 2008-10, before transitioning to work with the pitching staff and tutoring the catchers beginning in the 2011 season. Norris also handles a number of recruiting responsibilities for the program.

During his 11-year professional baseball career, Norris played for the Atlanta Braves and Houston Astros organizations before joining the coaching ranks in 2007. In his time with the two MLB organizations, he was associated with some of the best pitching minds in the game. With the Braves, he worked with legendary pitching coach Leo Mazzone and Hall of Fame pitchers Greg Maddux, John Smoltz and Tom Glavine, then later with Houston pitcher Andy Pettitte.

Continued....

Andy Phillips

 

Assistant Coach/Hitting Coach/Recruiting

Following a professional baseball career that spanned 12 seasons, including five in in Major League Baseball, Andy Phillips returned to The University of Alabama in 2011 as an assistant coach. Phillips enters his sixth season at Alabama and is the hitting instructor and fielding coach for the Crimson Tide, while sharing recruiting responsibilities.

Playing on the road the entire 2015 season, Phillips' hitters still put together some huge numbers. The Crimson Tide wrapped up the season batting .275 with 105 doubles, 20 triples and 27 home runs. The hitters also collected 285 RBI and swiped 61 bases in 83 attempts for a 74 percent success rate on the basepaths. The Tide's 20 triples were the most since 2006 and the stolen base totals were the most since 2010. UA's doubles total marked the most since 2011. He coached four players that would go on to get drafted, including Mikey White (2nd round, Oakland A's), Casey Hughston (3rd round, Pittsburgh Pirates), Kyle Overstreet (14th round, San Diego Padres) and Georgie Salem (39th round, Arizona Diamondbacks). White's selection made him one of just 11 total players in Crimson Tide history to be drafted in the first two rounds of the draft, while Hughston's draft spot was the second-highest slotting for a UA outfielder in program history. Overstreet also earned a selection to the All-SEC Defensive Team, his second conference honor of his career.

In 2014, the Crimson Tide finished second in the SEC with 42 home runs, the most for Alabama since 2010 and the bat change in 2011. Junior Ben Moore led the team with nine home runs, good for third-most in the SEC.

Continued....

David Kindred

 

Director of Baseball Operations

University of Alabama head baseball coach Mitch Gaspard announced the hiring of David Kindred as the Director of Baseball Operations for the Crimson Tide. A member of the UA baseball team from 2009-11, Kindred returns to Tuscaloosa after spending the last two years working for Regions Financial Corporation.

"We are excited to have David rejoin the Alabama baseball family," said Gaspard. "David was an outstanding player and a teammate during his three years as a player, and we expect him to bring the passion and energy to the Director of Operations position that he had when he was a student-athlete at Alabama."

Kindred, who was a four-time member of the Southeastern Conference Academic Honor Roll, graduated from the University of Alabama with a bachelor's degree in business administration in 2010. He continued his studies at The Capstone where he completed a master's degree at the Manderson Graduate School for Business in 2012.

Continued.....

Nathan Kilcrease

 

Assistant Volunteer Coach, Director of Camps/Clinics

University of Alabama head baseball coach Mitch Gaspard announced the hiring of Nathan Kilcrease to serve as a volunteer assistant coach and director of camps and clinics for the Crimson Tide. A member of the UA baseball team from 2008-11, Kilcrease officially joins the Tide staff following last season where he served as a student coach.

"Nathan is going to be a valuable addition to our coaching staff", said Gaspard. "He is a young energetic coach that brings a wealth of playing experience and knowledge that he can share with our players."

Kilcrease, who was drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the 30th round of the 2011 Major League Baseball Draft, spent two seasons in Minor League Baseball. Prior to his professional career, Kilcrease spent four years in Tuscaloosa where he earned numerous UA career records. He ranks first all-time with 88 career appearances and owned a 23-11 overall record with a 3.21 career ERA while at the Capstone. His 23 wins rank sixth all-time, while his 240 career strikeouts rank him seventh in UA annals.

Continued.....

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