Texas State President Denise Trauth and Director of Athletics Larry Teis announced former associate baseball coach Steven Trout as the new head of Bobcat baseball amongst coaches, family and staff at the University Events Center on Monday.
The nomination was given in the wake of one of Bobcat baseball’s most successful seasons to date, for which Trout served as an associate head baseball coach. Trout took on hitting and fielding and led the recruiting process for two seasons, helping the team to secure their first Sun Belt Conference Championship in 2019.
“(Trout) has tremendous coaching and championship experience, is an excellent evaluator and developer of talent, has great recruiting ties, and is committed to our core values,” Teis said. “He is passionate about coaching and mentoring our young men, and the current kids on the staff definitely let us know that.”
Trout’s coaching roots are here at Texas State, who began his career as volunteer assistant coach in 2009-10 for another groundbreaking season in Bobcat baseball. Texas State set a school record for wins in 2009 (41-17), winning the Southland Conference Championship and advancing to the NCAA Austin Regional before becoming back-to-back conference champions in 2010.
Following his return in 2016, Trout coached four MLB draft selections, including Theodore Hoffman (2017; 15th round; Detroit Tigers), Jaylen Hubbard (2019; 27th round, Washington Nationals), Jonathan Ortega (2018; 19th round; Boston Red Sox) and Luke Sherley (2018; 14th round; Detroit Tigers.)
Trout’s announcement cleared up the uncertainty following former head coach Ty Harrington’s retirement announcement on June 20. Harrington led the program through 20 seasons to become the winningest coach in Bobcat history and cultivate 53 former players onto the professional level.
The nomination was made more special to Trout because of his respect for Harrington, who took a chance by giving Trout his first coaching job in 2009. Harrington also oversaw four conference championships and was named Coach of the Year three times to rank as the NCAA’s 46th active baseball coach.
“There wouldn’t be another guy that I would want to follow footsteps in than Ty Harrington,” Trout said. “One thing I really learned from coach was how to run a program for 20 years with class, with integrity, and most importantly with one of his favorite sayings, to ‘just do the right thing’.”
Prior to his return to Texas State, Trout served as an assistant coach at West Virginia University from 2013-15. Under Trout, the Mountaineers racked up significant offensive stats, with eight batters making All-Big 12 Honors at the premier D1 school.
Trout also took on the role of head coach at his own alma mater in 2012 at Texarkana College, with the Bulldogs leading the conference offensively with a .303 overall batting average.
Trout also served at the University of Houston in 2011, taking on the role of volunteer assistant coach. Trout took part in the Cougar’s second place finish at the Conference USA tournament by guiding hitters, infielders and base runners.
As a player, Trout began at Texarkana College, advancing to the NJAA World Series in 2005 before moving on to TCU. As a Horned Frog, Trout was one of two players to start in every game his senior year and posted a .326 clip for 55 runs scored and 44 RBIs. TCU won the Mountain West Conference and competed in the NCAA Regional for both seasons with Trout on board.
Following his collegiate career, Trout stayed in Texas to play for the Fort Worth Cats in the American Association before switching to the South Coast League under the Macon Music. Trout finished out his time as a player in 2008 as a member of the Kansas City T-Bones, helping the team win the Northern League Championship.
Aside from baseball, family holds high regard to Trout, who thanked his wife, Blair Eckerle, and daughter, loyal Bobcat Ellison Elizabeth, for following him around the nation on his coaching journey.
“(Blair) has been my rock…” Trout said. “Anyone who would go to West Virginia with their husband on a journey and then back home, all while moving jobs and crushing it at her job at that… thank you for that.”
Trout also thanked his mother, father, sister and brother who he says were instrumental in making him a baseball lover today. With his childhood home sharing a driveway with the school baseball field, his mother as his undefeated T-Ball coach and his father as head baseball coach in his hometown of Hooks, Texas, Trout believes he was born to coach ball.
“My dad is very important because he taught me the game of baseball, and he still teaches me to this day,” Trout said. “The one thing he always taught me was if you work hard enough, if you don’t complain, if you work hard enough and you continue to work, things are going to work out in your favor, and that’s something we’re going to instill in our program.”
Trout takes on the head coaching position at a precarious time for the Bobcats. In addition to the uncertainty following Harrington’s retirement, Texas State saw five players join the professional ranks in June, including redshirt sophomore Hunter McMahon (9th round, Washington Nationals), Nicholas Fraze (22nd round, Toronto Blue Jays), Jaylen Hubbard (27th round, Washington Nationals) and Connor Reich (31st round, Chicago White Sox.) Senior pitcher Brayden Theriot also moved to the professional level after signing a free agent deal to the Tampa Bay Rays.
Decisions have yet to be made for the rest of the coaching staff, but Trout plans on keeping his associate coaching duties for the 2020 season. As head of recruiting, Trout is confident in the great state of Texas to bring more quality players into the Bobcat roster.
“We don’t have to go too far to find great players,” Trout said. “For us (recruiting is) not only about finding the quality player, but also the quality human being and the quality teammate.”
After a historic season in 2019, the bar has been raised, and Trout already has high expectations for the next round of Bobcat baseball.
“This last 2019 Championship was unreal, but that is no longer a goal for the program. It is now an expectation,” Trout said. “This university deserves to play in the NCAA Tournament year in and year out. With the momentum we have going on at the winning side of baseball, this place is at a special time, and to be the leader of that is very special to me.”
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