BOZICH | Hoosiers turn to Louisville, Lemonis for baseball futur - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH | Hoosiers turn to Louisville, Lemonis for baseball future

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Former U of L assistant coach Chris Lemonis will take over the Indiana baseball program. (Baseball America picture.) Former U of L assistant coach Chris Lemonis will take over the Indiana baseball program. (Baseball America picture.)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Louisville and Indiana have built a solid baseball rivalry over the last decade. A year ago the programs met in the College World Series, and this season they played three times.

The rivalry took another intriguing twist Wednesday: IU athletic director Fred Glass  selected U of L assistant coach Chris Lemonis to succeed Tracy Smith, who left Indiana for Arizona State last week.

“I am really excited for the opportunity to join one of college baseball’s hottest programs at Indiana,” Lemonis said in a release issued by IU. “I am thankful (athletic director) Fred Glass and the administration have faith in me to keep the momentum rolling and keep the Hoosiers at the top of the Big Ten.

“Our staff will do everything we can to recruit the state of Indiana and the entire Midwest to bring the best baseball players to Bloomington. We will play an exciting brand of baseball and are confident we can continue the championship tradition that has been established at IU.”

For the last eight seasons, Lemonis has served as the top assistant, recruiting coordinator and hitting coach for Dan McDonnell as the Cards have made trips to the College World Series in 2007, 2013 and 2014. Lemonis and McDonnell were college roommates at The Citadel, where they played in the 1990 College World Series.

Lemonis and McDonnell are best friends, appearing as groomsmen in each other’s weddings.

In 2013, Baseball America magazine named Lemonis and U of L pitching coach Roger Williams its top assistants in the nation. Former MLB all-star Scott Rolen assisted Glass in the search.

More than 20 of Lemonis’ hitters have been selected in the MLB Draft, including Adam Duvall, who made his big-league debut with San Francisco last week, Ryan Wright, Chris Dominguez and Adam Engel. Outfielders Cole Sturgeon (10th round, Red Sox) and Jeff Gardner (8th round, Nationals) were selected in June.

Lemonis is considered an outstanding recruiter. He takes over a program that has won back-to-back Big Ten titles and had three hitters (Kyle Schwarber, Sam Travis and Dustin DeMuth) taken in the first 10 rounds of the 2014 MLB Draft.

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