The longest-tenured coach in the Charlotte athletics department and under contract until 2018, Loren Hibbs has completed 23 seasons at the helm of the baseball program and has averaged more than 30 wins per season in his career. He has taken the program to all five of its NCAA Tournament appearances. Hibbs would win his 700th game on Saturday, April 4th at Old Dominion.
In 2015, Hibbs spearheaded the efforts to get the Niners playing in the first-ever college baseball game at BB&T Ballpark in Uptown Charlotte. BB&T Ballpark, home to the Charlotte Knights, Triple-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox, hosted a school-record 8,147 fans as the Niners fell 10-6 to N.C. State.
The Niners took another step forward during the year, their second back in Conference USA, improving the league win total (11), just narrowly missing out of the league tournament. Charlotte would sweep games from N.C. State and UNCG in a rain-altering series played at Historic Grayson Stadium in Savannah during the second weekend of the season.
In front of a National Television audience, the first-ever played at Hayes Stadium, Hibbs guided the Niners to a 5-0 win over C-USA opponent Louisiana Tech, going on to sweep the three-game set over the weekend. After the Uptown game, the Niners would take two-of-three at Old Dominion before sweeping a three-game road series at UAB to get the Niners back in the postseason race. Postseason awards under Hibbs included Brett Netzer landing on the C-USA all-Freshman Team while starting pitcher Sean Geoghegan and right-fielder Brad Elwood ended up on the NCCSIA All-State Second Team. Elwood also won the prestigious ABCA/Rawlings Gold Glove award in right field after leading the nation with 12 outfield assists and going error-free in 117 chances. Elwood becomes the first Niner to ever win a Gold Glove award while Netzer's league awards keeps Charlotte streak of one player winning an award alive, now at 33-straight seasons.
Associate Head Coach/Pitching Coach/Recruiting Coord.
Brandon Hall is in his seventh year as Charlotte's Associate Head Coach, his 11th season as the team's recruiting coordinator and 14th season total with the coaching staff. His main on-field responsibilities are with the pitching staff and catchers.
For the second-straight season, Hall was named to the USA Baseball Tournament of Stars Coaching Staff presented by Major League Baseball. Hall will be a part of the the coaching staff with will assist the 2015 18U National Team in selectecting the participants for the National Team Trials.
In 2015, Hall helped starter Sean Geoghegan earn NCCSIA All-State Second Team honors after posting a 6-5 record with a staff leading 2.46 ERA. In front of a National Television audience on the American Sports Network, Geoghegan would toss 7.2 innings of shutout ball scattering six hits with six strikeouts in the win. Geoghegan was also named Conference USA's Pitcher of the Week later in the year on April 27th. Geoghegan tossed a complete game, six-hit shutout at UAB on April 24th striking out five over the course of his 120 pitches to earn the honors. The outing at UAB was one of four shutouts on the season by the Niners pitching staff.
Assistant Coach/Hitting Coach
Bo Robinson was elevated to full time assistant coach in June 2014 after returning to Charlotte in the summer of 2012 as a member of Loren Hibbs' staff. He works with the infielders, hitters and coaches third base for the 49ers. He will also be the on-field camp director and assist with recruiting.
In his first full-time season of 2015, Robinson helped improved the Niners team batting average right off the bat going from a slow .173 batting average in February, to an immediate turnaround in March hitting .267. After hitting at a .258 clip in April, the Niners would post a .263 average for March and April combined getting them in the Conference USA tournament race.
Robinson also helped senior Brad Elwood end the year hitting .328 to wrap up his career as a .308 hitter while also aiding Brett Netzer in landing on Conference USA's All-Freshman Team after hitting .318 on the season. Fellow freshman Eddie Hull would hit .364 in 22 at-bats, primarily as a pinch-hitter. Robinson would assist Logan Sherer in turning around his season with the biggest individual turnaround of the year. Sherer, sitting on a .149 average after 13 games, would then go on to hit safely in 31 of his last 35 games, hitting 363 over that 35-game span, to finish the year as a .311 hitter.
Director of Operations
Following his graduation at Charlotte, former student baseball manager Chris Hinnau was added as Director of Baseball Operations with the 49ers in 2014, returning for his second stint in 2015. He received his degree in Criminal Justice in December, 2013.
Hinnau was a student manager for the previous four seasons with the program, assisting the coaching staff with field maintenance and handling equipment. He even threw batting practice to the team in the 2013 season. He has been working with the new video system installed at the park in the fall of 2013.
Hinnau lives in Charlotte and enjoys golfing in his spare time.