SAGU hands reigns to Baseball Lions
Sam Blackmon signed as new Head Coach
Jesse Godding, A.D., weighs in on baseball challenges
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- The Athletic Department at Southwestern Assemblies of God University has announced the hiring of Sam Blackmon as the new Head Coach of the baseball program.
He brings a notable resume of building and managing high school and college teams known for their integrity and success.
“Finding an individual to take over a baseball program that has struggled to be competitive in the RRAC (Red River Athletic Conference) and now finds itself headed into the SAC (Sooner Athletic Conference) was a daunting task,” said Jesse Godding, the Athletic Director at SAGU.
“We were pleased with the number of applicants and the quality of those applicants,” Godding added. “Our goals were to find an individual who could stand up to the task ahead, provide mature, proven baseball leadership, and has demonstrated spiritual guidance for players in previous coaching experiences.”
“I would say that Coach Blackmon unquestionably embodies those characteristics. Throw in his coaching record and his administrative abilities,” Godding explained, “and I believe that SAGU baseball is in the right hands and will grow under Coach Blackmon’s tutelage and leadership.”
The Lions, who have not finished over .500 in a decade, will have a young core of committed players returning this year.
Godding expressed his confidence in the newly hired Blackmon.
“Rome wasn’t built in a day,” he said, quoting the famous French proverb. “We have a long way to go with our baseball program, but I do believe we have the architect and builder in place.”
“I am really excited about the opportunity to be the head baseball coach at Southwestern Assemblies of God University and humbled and thankful for that trust given to me,” Blackmon said this week.
“I was very impressed with the leadership, vision and direction Dr. (Kermit) Bridges, Reverend (Terry) Phipps and Coach (Jesse) Godding have for the university and the baseball program,” he continued.
“The fact the university is distinctly Christian is very appealing to me. It is a great opportunity to utilize the platform of baseball for sharing the Gospel.”
Blackmon’s most recent college post was at East Texas Baptist University (Marshall, Tx) from 2006 through 2012.
Prior to that he was the skipper at the University of Dallas, also an NCAA Division III team, from 2001-2005. Blackmon’s Crusaders teams were nationally ranked during the 2002 and 2003 seasons.
The 2002 unit rolled to a 33-3 record as the No. 3 rated team. A year later the ‘Saders were No. 14. They led the country in stolen bases with 158.
When Blackmon left Irving, he owned the U-of-D’s all-time winning percentage for a coach in school history. Six players from those teams signed pro contracts.
His leadership at four prep schools in Texas saw Blackmon coach for 10 years in which his clubs claimed nine district titles and advance to three state tournament appearances.
St. Mark’s School, Elkhart H.S., Liberty Christian H.S. and Bay Area Christian H.S. were very fruitful stints. He was named district Coach of the Year in seven of ten seasons.
Twenty-two players on the Lions, Elks, Warriors and the BAC Broncos teams were signed to play college ball.
His combined career won-lost-tied record as a Head Coach is 375-280-3 (.570).
Blackmon is known for detailed scouting of opposing teams. It allows for strategic Game Day plans, which put players in position to win.
His evaluating expertise has been put to use with Maddog Sports Scouting Network as well as a stint as the hitting instructor for the (minor league pro baseball) Tyler Roughnecks.
Blackmon teaches fundamental skills to his players while emphasizing the need for character and integrity. He desires his young men to become skilled players, good husbands and fathers.
A graduate of Howard Payne University (Tx), he majored in History with a minor in English.
Blackmon’s arrival in Waxahachie comes as SAGU joins the Sooner Athletic Conference, considered the premier league in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).
The challenge facing the Lions is clear, considering four teams from the SAC were ranked in the top 17 teams this year; Oklahoma City University (49-13), Lubbock Christian University (44-17), Rogers State University (36-24), and Oklahoma Baptist University (44-19).
A fifth team, the University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma (44-19), received votes.
Moving from the Red River to the Sooner with the Lions are Northwood University (44-13) and Texas Wesleyan University (42-18). They appeared at No. 7 and No. 16 in the Top 25 Coaches Poll.
“I believe SAGU is uniquely located and in a hotbed of a baseball rich area,” Coach Blackmon said. “We will play in one of the top baseball conferences in the nation, if not the top conference.”
About the SAGU Lions
The 2013 Lions were led by three key performers in Garett Thomas (Red Oak, Tx / Red Oak HS), Jared Denton (Mission, Tx / Sharyland HS), and Billy Mee (Fayetteville, NC / Copperas Cove HS).
Thomas, a freshman shortstop, swung a .407 bat, while Denton, a junior catcher/leftfielder, batted .365. Mee, a freshman first baseman, turned in a .298 campaign. Denton’s 33 RBI was tops on the team.
Jarrod Pisors (Dallas, Tx / Red Oak HS), a 6’7 frosh, ate up innings and proved to be the Lions clear strike-out leader. His 68.2 innings averaged 5.7 per, 15th best in the Red River.
In addition, he fanned 6.3 batters per game, rating 14th in the RRAC.
Four hurlers tied with two wins each, including freshman Hayden Killebrew (Red Oak, Tx / Red Oak HS), who was 2-3.
The ace of the staff, Robert Elles (Red Oak, Tx / Red Oak HS), was sidelined for the year after an injury in his first start.
Sam (45) is married to wife, Marla, and together they have two children in Claire (20) and Kayten (14).
He takes the reigns of former Head Coach, Jonathan Shockley, who led the Lions the past two years. He accepted a business offer near his hometown, Wichita, Kansas.
Shockley went 14-34 this spring with a young team that had 25 freshmen and sophomores on a 29-man roster. The 2012 squad struggled through an injury-riddled 14-28 campaign.