Link Jarrett will enter his fourth season as the head baseball coach at UNCG in 2016. Jarrett, a two-time Assistant Coach of the Year award winner and offensive mastermind brought 13 prior years of coaching experience to the program, including stops at Flagler, Mercer, Florida State, East Carolina and Auburn.
In six of the last eight seasons, his teams at UNCG, Auburn and East Carolina have led their respective leagues in batting average. Additionally, Jarrett has coached 64 players who have entered the professional baseball ranks and signed three first round selections that chose to sign a professional contract foregoing college (Mike Trout, Addison Russell, and David Dahl).
Jarrett continued to build the program in his third season in Greensboro, coaching the Spartans to a fourth-place finish in the Southern Conference standings – the team’s highest ranking since 2011. UNCG ended the season in the top 25 nationally in four statistical categories including home runs per game (seventh), slugging percentage (eighth), home runs (17th) and batting average (22nd).
The program took a large step forward academically in 2015 as the team boasted a collective 3.14 grade point average with 22 players recording a 3.0 or higher. The squad also placed 18 of its student-athletes on the 2014-15 Southern Conference Honor Roll – the most of any UNCG team.
For the third-straight year, the Spartans had a pitcher selected in the Major League Baseball First Year Player Draft. The Atlanta Braves took Junior RHP Ryan Clark with the 150th pick in the fifth round. It was the second consecutive season the Braves took a UNCG pitcher in the top five rounds as former standout Max Povse was tabbed in the third round (102nd overall) of the 2014 draft.
A trio of Spartans earned All-Southern Conference recognition on 2015 in outfielder Eric Kalbfleisch (Second Team), Clark (Second Team) and RHP Andrew Wantz (All-Freshman Team). Additionally, three UNCG players were selected as SoCon Pitcher/Player of the Week while Clark earned recognition as the Southern Conference Pitcher of the Month for March.
Big wins continued to be a staple of the Jarrett era as the Blue and Gold picked up victories over a pair of ranked teams in No. 24 Liberty at the Keith-LeClair Classic in Greenville, N.C. and No. 17 North Carolina on the road in Chapel Hill, N.C. Jarrett has led the Spartans to five wins over ranked foes in his tenure as well as victories over every Atlantic Coast Conference program in North Carolina (Duke, NC State, North Carolina and Wake Forest). UNCG also picked up a series win over SoCon newcomer and eventual league champion Mercer in Macon. The Blue and Gold was the only team to record a series win over the Bears in conference play.
During the 2015 campaign, Jarrett served as a voter on the USA Today Top 25 Coaches Poll and was the coaches’ representative on the Southern Conference Baseball Committee.
In his second season at the helm of the Spartan baseball program, Jarrett again led the team to the Southern Conference’s highest batting average at .310 – also good for sixth in the nation. In fact, UNCG finished in the top 50 nationally in eight different offensive categories including 22nd in runs scored per game (6.4).
A total of five Spartans hit .317 or better with junior Hunter King leading the way at .382 – the second-highest mark in the SoCon. King earned Southern Conference Player of the Month honors for April while classmate Jordan McDonald was named the league’s hitter of the week March 24.
As for league accolades, five UNCG players were recognized on the all-conference teams with King and senior Sean Guite earning first-team selection, McDonald and junior Eric Kalbfleisch garnering second-team honors and rookie Adam Swim landing on the all-freshman team.
For the second time in as many seasons, Jarrett saw at least two of his players selected in the Major League Baseball First Year Player Draft as junior Max Povse was taken in the third round by the Atlanta Braves, senior Dylan Thompson was drafted by the Rockies in the 31st round and signee Alex Durham was scooped up by the New York Mets in the 12th round.
As a team, UNCG recorded some significant series wins in SoCon play as the Spartans swept Elon for the first time ever and won their first series against Georgia Southern in Statesboro since 1998. The Blue and Gold also went 3-1 against local ACC foes Duke and Wake Forest – sweeping the home and home against the Demon Deacons for the first time since 2004. UNCG also picked up a road win at perennial power East Carolina while also sweeping Big East foe Georgetown and downing the Big Ten’s Minnesota in a tournament in Myrtle Beach.
Jarrett’s offensive prowess paid immediate dividends to the Spartan offense in his first season as the team compiled a Southern Conference-best .311 batting average. It was the first time UNCG had ever finished on top of the league rankings in the statistic. In all, the Blue and Gold ended the season in the top four of the SoCon in batting average, slugging percentage, hits, doubles and sacrifice flies. On a national scale, the Spartans were 12th in batting average, 17th in slugging percentage, 23rd in doubles per game, 26th in home runs per game, 29th in hits, 31st in home runs, 33rd in scoring (runs per game) and 34th in total doubles.
In terms of individuals, Jarrett mentored senior outfielder Christian Wolfe to a record-setting season in which he finished first in the Southern Conference and second nationally with a .421 batting average – the highest single-season mark in program history. Wolfe became the first UNCG player since 2003 to earn All-America recognition as he was tabbed an All-America by three different publications. He would end the season ranked in the top 50 nationally in batting average (second), hits (26th), doubles per game (48th) and on base percentage (49th). On the SoCon level, Wolfe checked in first in batting average, third in on base percentage, tied for third in hits, tied for fifth in doubles and 10th in total bases.
UNCG also had two players drafted under Jarrett’s watch as junior catcher Cambric Moye and senior RHP Dominique Vattuone were selected in the 30th and 32nd rounds of the 2013 Major League Baseball First Year Player Draft. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim picked up Moye while Vattuone became a member of the Oakland Athletics.
The Spartans were well represented when the Southern Conference season-ending awards were revealed as Wolfe earned selection to the first team by both the league’s head coaches and media panel. Additionally, redshirt freshman infielder Nin Marrero was named the SoCon Freshman of the Year by the media. Marrero and freshman RHP Ryan Clark were tabbed to the Southern Conference All-Freshman Team while senior infielder Trevor Edwards received recognition as a second-teamer.
Jarrett’s first season at UNCG was not without big wins either, as the Spartans traveled to Raleigh March 19 and knocked off eventual College World Series participant NC State 8-5 in 11 innings. The Blue and Gold also captured their first series win over a ranked team when UNCG captured two of three over No. 22 Georgia Southern March 28-30 at the UNCG Baseball Stadium.
Before his arrival in Greensboro, Jarrett spent three seasons as the assistant coach/director of player development at Auburn for coach John Pawlowski. During his time at Auburn, the Tigers averaged 34 wins per season and advanced to the Southeastern Conference Tournament all three years becoming just one of five SEC schools to accomplish that task. Under his guidance, the Tigers saw 19 players selected, 11 of which have been position players, in the Major League Baseball Draft in three seasons.
SEBaseball.com named Jarrett SEC Assistant Coach of the Year in 2010 as he helped the Tigers post a 43-17 overall record and capture the SEC West Division championship. Auburn advanced to the NCAA Tournament and hosted the NCAA Regional where is posted a .349 team batting average in the postseason.
Jarrett was in charge of the team’s offense and helped the Tigers set school records for batting average (.348), home runs (131) and slugging percentage (.591), the latter two both national bests in NCAA Division I baseball. Auburn’s 816 hits, 584 runs and 9.1 runs per game also finished in the top 10 in the nation and led the SEC as did the team’s on-base percentage (.423), RBI (549) and total bases (1385). Additionally, Hunter Morris was name SEC Player of the Year in 2010.
In 2012, Jarrett helped Auburn posted a 31-28 record while leading the SEC in batting average (.304), on-base percentage (.386), triples (19), stolen bases (113) and stolen base attempts (151). The Tigers had four players drafted in the MLB Draft while also seeing six signees selected. Auburn led the league in conference play in batting average, hits, doubles, slugging percentage, on-base percentage and total bases.
Prior to Auburn, Jarrett spent four seasons as the hitting instructor and recruiting coordinator at East Carolina under head coach Billy Godwin. He helped the Pirates advance to the NCAA Tournament his last three years while averaging 40.2 wins per season with a .639 winning percentage. He also aided East Carolina to a 46-20 record in his final year in Greenville in 2009, guiding the Pirates to a NCAA Regional host and championship with an NCAA Super Regional appearance in Chapel Hill. East Carolina also collected the 2009 Conference USA regular season title.
SEBaseball.com named Jarrett the Conference USA Assistant Coach of the Year for his work in 2009. He helped the Pirates become of the most prolific offenses in the country, finishing with a NCAA-best 814 hits, while placing fourth in runs scored (565), sixth in doubles (154), seventh in home runs (108), 12th in slugging percentage (.546) and 15th in batting average. East Carolina also led Conference USA in on-base percentage (.415), RBI (523), total bases (1310) and fielding percentage (.971). He helped recruit Conference USA Newcomer of the Year Chris Heston and All-Freshman Team selection Kevin Brandt.
In 2008, East Carolina posted a 42-21 record with finishing as runner-up in the Coastal Carolina Regional. The Pirates led Conference USA in batting average, slugging percentage, on-base percentage, runs, hits, RBI, home runs, total bases and walks. East Carolina advanced to the NCAA Regional in 2007 with a 40-23 record as it led the league in home runs while finishing third in batting average e, slugging percentage, on-base percentage and RBI. Also, he recruited Conference USA Player of the Year Corey Kemp, Freshman of the Year Seth Maness, Newcomer of the Year Justin Bristow and All-Freshman Team member Dustin Harrington.
Prior to East Carolina, Jarrett spent two seasons at Mercer as the recruiting coordinator, helping the team double its win total in his first season (2004), and then topping that with the team’s first winning record since 1999 with a 28-26 mark during the 2005 campaign.
Jarrett spent the 2003 regular season at his alma mater, helping Florida State to a 54-13-1 record and a Super Regional berth as well as an ACC regular season championship.
Jarrett began his coaching career at Flagler College in St. Augustine, Fla., in 1999. Over the course of three seasons, Flagler established school records in batting average, hits, doubles, fielding percentage, ERA and double plays while posting a 108-63 record (.632), with a 40-win season in 2001 and a No. 5 national ranking.
Jarrett was the starting shortstop on three College World Series teams at Florida State in 1991, 1992 and 1994. He earned NCBWA All-America honors as a junior and senior and still holds the NCAA record for career assists with 802. He also holds the FSU records for consecutive games played (235) and at-bats (989).
Jarrett was the 22nd round pick of the Colorado Rockies in the 1994 MLB Draft. He was voted the Most Spectacular Defensive Player in the organization in 1994 while playing for the Bend (Ore.) Rockies in Single-A and then hit .303 for the New Haven Ravens (AA) in 1997.
Jarrett earned a bachelor’s degree in communication with a minor in psychology from Florida State in 1994. He and his wife Jennifer, have two children, J.T. (16) and Dawson (13).