RICHMOND, Ky. – Former Eastern Kentucky University infielder Jason Stein was named the school’s new baseball coach, EKU Director of Athletics Mark Sandy announced on Thursday. A two-time All-OVC honoree for Athletics Hall of Fame coach Jim Ward from 1992-95, Stein later served as an assistant coach to Ward from 1998-2000. Stein comes to Richmond from Belmont University where he served seven years as an assistant coach, the last two as assistant head coach.
“To be able to return to my alma mater and coach on the field where I bled and cried as a player is unbelievable,” Stein said. “Every young coach wants the opportunity to take over a program with a history of excellence and winning championships. To inherit such a program to which I already have strong emotional ties is a dream come true.”
A native of Ashland, Ky. and a graduate of Paul G. Blazer High School, Stein (pronounced STEEN) arrived at EKU in 1992. Noted initially for his glove, specifically his ability to turn the double play, Stein proved his worth at the plate as a sophomore when he won the 1993 OVC batting title with a .378 average. The second baseman was named second team All-OVC that year, and was selected to the OVC All-Tournament team after hitting .400 in post-season play. Stein collected 19 multiple-hit games his sophomore season.
“Eastern has a great baseball tradition,” Eastern Kentucky University President Dr. Doug Whitlock said. “Coach Stein has already been part of that heritage and I am pleased to welcome him home. We look forward to continued greatness in our baseball program.”
As a junior, Stein posted a .301 batting average and was named honorable mention All-OVC, despite missing two weeks of the season with an injury. He was second on the team in hits that season with 56, and finished the year on a tear, hitting safely in 17 of his last 20 games. Stein moved to shortstop his senior year, and was just as productive as the previous two seasons. As a co-captain for the Colonels, he earned first team All-OVC honors in 1995. He batted .333 that season, led the team with 76 hits and only struck out five times in 228 at-bats.
Stein finished his Colonel career with a .334 batting average, and was named OVC Player of the Week three times.
“I was very impressed with Jason when we met because of his baseball knowledge and his passion for EKU,” Sandy said. “I am certain he will be an outstanding coach and an excellent representative for the University. Now that he has the opportunity to lead his own program, I believe Jason will prove that he is a rising star in the coaching ranks.”
From 1996-97, Stein served as a student assistant under Ward, with his primary on-field duties including working with middle infielders and coaching third base. In 1998, Stein became an assistant coach, and a year later was named recruiting coordinator. As an assistant at EKU, Stein coached more than 15 All-OVC selections, 10 OVC Player of the Week honorees and seven OVC All-Tournament team selections. The Colonels won the OVC regular season title in 2000, and placed in the top three in tournament play all three years Stein was an assistant.
Stein served as an assistant coach/recruiting coordinator at Belmont from 2001-05, and was named assistant head coach/recruiting coordinator in 2006. In Stein’s tenure at Belmont, he coached 24 All-Atlantic Sun Conference selections, 120 Atlantic Sun Academic All-Conference selections and 16 Atlantic Sun Player of the Week honorees. He recruited or coached nine players selected to play in major league organizations, including the highest draft pick in school history, Blake Owen, who went to the Baltimore Orioles in the sixth round of the 2005 draft. Stein was also responsible for two or more players drafted in back-to-back years for the first time in Belmont’s Division I era.
Stein recruited and coached the 2006 Atlantic Sun Freshman of the Year, Derek Wiley, and also recruited and coached the Atlantic Sun’s first ever dual all-conference selection in Carlo Testa, who was named first team all-conference as a left-handed pitcher and first team all-conference as an outfielder.
With Stein’s help, Belmont reached the final game of 2007 Atlantic Sun Conference tournament. The Bruins broke the school record for wins twice during Stein’s tenure, and they also defeated three nationally-ranked teams.
Under Stein’s guidance, the Bruins set school records in nearly every single-season offensive category, including most home runs, most RBI, most total bases and most stolen bases. The Bruins swiped 518 bases during Stein’s time, and posted school records of 103 stolen bases in 2002 and 124 in 2005.
Stein’s impact at Belmont also stretched outside of the baseball diamond and into the classroom. The Bruins’ team GPA was over 3.0 for more than 12 semesters, and their APR of 974 ranked first in the Atlantic Sun and was above the 80th percentile nationally.
“I want to thank President Doug Whitlock, Mark Sandy, Dan McBride and the rest of the athletics administration at EKU for giving me this opportunity,” Stein said. “I also want to thank Coach Ward, who brought me to EKU, and Dave Jarvis for presenting me with the opportunity to coach at Belmont.”
Stein replaces Elvis Dominguez, who left the EKU baseball program after seven years to assume the head coaching position at Bradley University.
Stein earned a bachelor’s degree in ornamental horticulture from EKU in 1997, and received a master’s degree in sports administration from EKU in 1998.
In 2005, Stein married the former Terri Edge. The couple will reside in Richmond with their two year-old son, Ryker, and five month-old daughter, Riley.
TRANSACTION – Eastern Kentucky University announces the hiring of Jason Stein as head baseball coach.
What Others Are Saying About Jason Stein:
“Jason is an excellent hire for EKU because he really has a passion for that program. He has developed his coaching career at Belmont, and I am confident that he is well-prepared to lead the Colonel baseball program.”
--Jim Ward, Former EKU Head Coach
“Jason did a tremendous job for us over the seven years that he was here, not only with coaching but with recruiting as well. He is a tremendous asset that we’ll be losing, and we’ll miss him. However, I’m very excited for him, and I expect big things for the EKU baseball program.”
--Dave Jarvis, Head Coach, Belmont University
“As a former Colonel, I’m extremely happy and excited for EKU that they have hired my former teammate as the new head baseball coach. EKU is not only getting an outstanding coach, but also a quality person in Jason. I’m sure Jason and his players will represent the university in a positive manner on and off the field. No one worked harder as a player, and Jason has taken that approach to coaching as well. His players will play the game the way it is supposed to be played. EKU will be OVC champs in the very near future.”
--Brandon Berger, former EKU and Kansas City Royals Outfielder
“I’ve known Jason since he was a player at EKU, and if I had an all-opponent team, he would be on it. Not because he was the greatest player, but because he was a great competitor. When he was interviewing for the EKU job, I asked him ‘How bad do you want this job?’ and he said ‘This is the only job I’ve ever wanted.’ It is his dream job. Jason is a good coach, a good family man, and he will get the support of the community. EKU, and college baseball in general, is getting a great head coach with him.”
--Steve Peterson, Head Coach, Middle Tennessee State University
“Jason is a very deserving young man, and he’s had a lot to do with Belmont’s success over the past few years. He is a very good recruiter and a very good teacher, and, obviously, he has something invested in that program. Overall, he is a great hire for EKU.”
--Tim Corbin, Head Coach, Vanderbilt University