When hired as the 13th head coach in McNeese Baseball history on June 21, 2013, Justin Hill's main focus was to bring a baseball program that was made of championship caliber in all aspects to McNeese State University
Hill's resolute efforts to return the Cowboys to being one of the top teams in the Southland Conference culminated during his first season at the helm, leading the Cowboys to a 30-28 overall record and walking out of the Southland Conference Tournament with the third best finish among the eight participants.
McNeese's 30 win season was the program's first in nearly five years while the Cowboys compiled 17 conference victories, the best since 2012. The two wins in the SLC Tournament was a team best since picking up two victories in 2010.
Hill also became the first head coach since Mike Bianco in 1998 to win 30 or more games in his first season as the skipper for the Cowboys. He also was the first coach since Todd Butler to win in his debut as he picked up a victory over Chicago State.
Cory Barton is in his second season at McNeese and has been critical to the team's resurgence as a contender in the Southland Conference. Just one year removed from being eliminated from the league tournament after the first two games for the third consecutive season, the Cowboys finished as the third best team in the 2014 SLC Tournament and picked up two victories in the process during the postseason tournament.
His work with the McNeese pitching staff made an immediate impact during his first season as a member of Justin Hill's staff. Barton took part in the development of sophomore Kaleb Fontenot who recorded the third lowest ERA among all Southland Conference pitchers. Expected to be used as a relief pitcher, Fontenot was developed into a weekend starter and with the guidance of Barton turned in a 2.14 ERA and a 6-2 record.
The Cowboys also turned in three of the lowest opponent batting averages in the conference. Steven O'Bryant led the pack with a .225 average while Cole Prejean and Kaleb Fontenot also placed in the top ten among league tossers.
Vaz's duties at McNeese will include serving as the team's hitting coach, working with the outfielders and coaching third base. He will also assist with recruiting.
Vaz, a native of Brooklyn, New York, comes to McNeese after serving three seasons as assistant baseball coach at LSU Eunice. His expertise and coaching style helped lead the Bengals to a 151-28 record along with a National Championship in 2012 and a National runner up title in 2013.
Vaz's offense's recorded a .321 average over that span while breaking records for walks, stolen bases and hit by pitches.
LSU-E reached 40+ wins for the ninth consecutive season in 2014 while advancing to the Region 23 Tournament. Vaz's offense recorded its best batting average in his three seasons with the team as the Bengals compiled .333 as a team with 10 student-athletes hitting .300 or better. His best hitter, Stefan Trosclair was named to the 2014 NJCAA All-American first team after completing the season with a .409 average and 32 stolen bases.
Caleb Clowers is in his second season as a member of the McNeese coaching staff, where he works with the infielders and serves as the first base coach during games. Clowers also is the coordinator for all Cowboy Baseball camps.
In his first season at McNeese, Clowers took part in producing one of the top fielding percentages in the Southland Conference as well as developing two first-team All-Southland Conference student-athletes.
Defensively, McNeese committed only 63 errors and had a conference best .972 fielding percentage that ranked as the best in program history. All-Southland Conference first team selections Chayse Marion and Andrew Guillotte as well as the rest of the Cowboy infield were among the many reasons for the excellent play in the field.