GREENSBORO, N.C. – Jerry Edwards and Matt Boykin have been named assistant coaches for the UNCG baseball program, according to an announcement Tuesday by head coach Link Jarrett.
Edwards has been the pitching coach and recruiting coordinator at Eastern Kentucky University for the past four seasons after serving in the same capacity from 1999-2001 under former skipper Jim Ward. He was also the squad's interim head coach in between the tenures of Ward and Elvis Dominguez. His efforts helped build the squad that won a share of the OVC regular season title in 2012.
"Jerry's work ethic and conviction to coaching and recruiting, as well as his 16 years of college coaching experience, will be tremendous assets to our program," Jarrett said. "He helped build a championship program at Eastern Kentucky as a coach and recruiting coordinator. His network and contacts across the country are extensive. I am thrilled that Jerry and his family are on board at UNCG."
Senior right hander Matt Fyffe was named the 2012 Ohio Valley Conference Pitcher of the Year, finishing the regular season with a 9-0 record and a 1.51 ERA in 65.2 innings pitched. He stifled opposing hitters, holding them to a .209 batting average. Fyffe's nine wins led the OVC while his 1.51 ERA paced the league and ranked seventh in the nation.
The Colonel's pitching staff experienced revitalization under Edwards in 2011, lowering its season ERA nearly two points from 7.48 in 2010 to 5.61 in 2011. With Edwards' instruction, senior right-hander Stephen Hefler, who transferred to EKU from Kaskaskia College in 2010, dropped his ERA from 8.23 in 2010 to 3.77 in 2011 and transformed into one of the most dominant starting pitchers in the Ohio Valley Conference - becoming just the second EKU pitcher to earn first team All-OVC honors since 1990. Junior right-hander Matt Harris also blossomed under Edwards last season, lowering his ERA from 9.58 in 2010 to a team-best 2.77 in 2011. Against OVC competition, Harris, who started the year in the bullpen but transitioned into a starter later in the season, posted a miniscule 0.59 ERA of while batters hit just .168 against him.
In 2010, Edwards developed a relatively unknown freshman right-hander out of Georgia named Anthony Bazzani. Due to the persistent guidance of Edwards, Bazzani was transformed into one of the top pitchers in the OVC by May. He was named the league's Pitcher of the Week after he worked all nine innings, allowed one earned run, scattered seven hits and struck out six against Jacksonville State on May 15. He then led the Colonels to their first OVC Tournament win since 2007 as he dominated Murray State on May 26, going eight innings and nearly setting a neutral site OVC Tournament record with 10 strikeouts. Bazzani finished the season with a 5-3 record, led EKU in innings pitched (77.1) and opponent batting average (.282) and was named to the OVC All-Freshman Team.
Edwards inherited a 2009 pitching staff that had lost nine of 14 arms from the previous season. Only two of his pitchers recorded a win in 2008 and none of them worked more than 30 innings. However, Edwards was able to piece together a group composed primarily of raw underclassmen, freshmen, and career relief pitchers. The staff ended up producing 31 wins.
Before coaching at EKU, Edwards spent two years at North Carolina Wesleyan College as an assistant coach/recruiting coordinator under current North Carolina head coach, Mike Fox. During those two years, he helped lead North Carolina Wesleyan to the 1999 Division III National Championship.
Edwards arrived at EKU from Louisburg (N.C.) College, where he was the pitching coach. While at the two-year college, Edwards had nine of his pitchers sign with Division I schools, and two of his pitchers were taken in the top 12 rounds of the MLB Draft and signed professional contracts.
Before Louisburg, Edwards served as the head coach at Hiwassee College in Madisonville, Tenn. While at Hiwassee, he mentored a pair of MLB draftees. In between his stints at EKU and Hiwassee, Edwards was an Associate Scout for three years with the Atlanta Braves under the guidance of Area Scouting Supervisor Billy Best.
Edwards began his coaching career at the Enfield Academy in Whitakers, N.C. under the tutelage of current East Carolina head coach, Billy Godwin. He earned his bachelor's degree in physical education from North Carolina Wesleyan College in 1999, and he received a master's degree in physical education/sports administration from EKU in 2001.
Edwards and his wife, Amy, are the parents of two children – Jacob (12) and Claire (10).
Boykin spent the last two seasons as the head baseball coach at St. Andrews University after being hired in the summer of 2010. He joined the Knights' program after spending six years as an assistant coach at Appalachian State University. He was an integral component of the Mountaineer coaching staff, helping in all aspects of the program including serving as recruiting coordinator, primary hitting & infield instructor and third base coach while assisting with strength & conditioning, practices and compliance.
His efforts as recruiting coordinator were integral in ASU's run to the 2012 Southern Conference title. The Mountaineers were slotted into the 2012 NCAA Charlottesville Regional where they knocked off top-seeded and host Virginia as well as No. 2 seed Oklahoma in consecutive contests on the way to the regional final.
"Matt's dedication to recruiting, ability to evaluate and coaching experience in the Southern Conference are all traits that have defined his 10-year coaching career," Jarrett said. "His organizational skills and extensive recruiting history in North Carolina will be key facets that will move UNCG baseball into a new era as he coordinates our recruiting efforts."
Appalachian State fans witnessed a transformation in the baseball program during Boykin's time on the mountain. He helped guide ASU from a 10-43 season with a 261 RPI rating in 2004 to a 38-18-1 record with a RPI of 50 in 2010. The 38 wins in his last season with the program were the second-most in school history and marked the fourth consecutive 30-plus win season for ASU.
Boykin coached nine MLB draft picks in his tenure at Appalachian State as the institution did not have any draftees in the decade prior to his arrival. Boykin also instructed 12 all-conference and four All-America selections.
After just one season in Laurinburg, Boykin dramatically increased the size of the St. Andrew's baseball program. Not only did he keep bringing in players for the varsity team, but he also started a JV program. During the rebuilding process, Boykin raised the number of athletes on the roster from 12 to 40 and oversaw the team's transition from NCAA Division II to the NAIA for the 2013 season. Boykin graduated 100% of his athletes and involved the program heavily in the community through involvement with Old Laurel Hill Presbyterian Church, Optimist Club of Laurinburg, Scotland County Relay for Life and other local organizations.
The Apex, N.C., product played four seasons at Barton College and was a two-time academic all-conference and all-tournament honoree for the Bulldogs before earning a pair of bachelor's degrees in business administration and sports management in 2003. Boykin was also awarded a master's degree in sports coaching from the United States Sports Academy in 2005.
In addition to spending the 2004 season as an assistant coach at his alma mater, Boykin was the head coach of the Asheboro Copperheads of the Coastal Plain League and served as an assistant coach with the CPL's Wilson Tobs in 2004. He also owns experience working at several camps throughout the Southeast and has been an assistant coach for American Legion squads in Wilson and Apex, N.C.
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