ACU hires Dallas Baptist assistant Rick McCarty as its next baseball coach
ABILENE, Texas —
Following in the footsteps of guy like Britt Bonneau certainly won't be easy for Rick McCarty -- the man ACU dubbed its new baseball coach on Tuesday afternoon.
"There will be some great sit-downs over a cup of coffee or some lunch," smiled McCarty who takes over head baseball coaching duties on June 20. "I'm excited for his friendship, but in following in the footsteps of the tradition he laid here -- hopefully we can do that moving forward in the Division I level. That's the goal. They had so much success in DII, that now he got them through such a difficult transition -- and I know that wasn't easy, I'm excited to build on top of that and get this program to a new level."
McCarty, joined by his family and members of the ACU athletic community, was welcomed the program's 4th coach since reinstatement in 1991 at Wildcat Stadium. Britt Bonneau, who led the Wildcats for 22 years, resigned after the season finale in May.
A 2003 graduate of Murray State, Rick McCarty began his coaching career with the Racers before joining the Delta State staff in 2004 as a graduate assistant pitching coach. That year, the team qualified for the NCAA DII College World series after completing a 50 win season. After three more seasons, he took on an assistant role at Southeastern Missouri State before four years helping revitalize the Campbell program.
Most recently, McCarty spent one season at Louisiana Tech (2015), before three-straight NCAA postseason campaigns at Dallas Baptist. There, McCarty's knowledge and skill in pitching saw the 2018 Patriots sit at or near the top of the Missouri Valley Conference rankings in several pitching categories -- and the program went on to have the sixth-most draft picks in the nation with seven selections. McCarty's time with DBU has seen a total of eight pitchers selected to the MLB including a pair of top-10 round selections in 2017.
While known as a highly-regarded recruiter with a skill-set in player development, his role as a head coach now will help expand his abilities.
"I've learned through all the head coaches I've worked with -- that this is a relationship-based activity," McCarty told the media on Tuesday. "That's big for me and I hope our players are comfortable with the situation we're in and where we're headed. Transition is never easy -- I'm a student athlete and so I get that and want to help with any questions. But I'm ready to take what I've learned and apply it to a program that has already shown me that family atmosphere, and I think we'll only continue to be more successful as we grow together."
"There's a lot of parallels to where I'm coming from at DBU to here," he added. "The faith-based education and Christ-centered programs are similar -- and the longevity of the success there is something I think I can do here. I've received so much support in this process from them, that I can't wait to get to work."
It's also an excitement that spans on all aspects of the job -- including the environment for his family.
"I'm big on putting my family in a situation where it's a family atmosphere -- and that's exactly what you get here," he said. "The facilities here, the people here, the community here, the conference -- there's just not a negative. There's challenges ahead but man, I'm so impressed with ACU and this opportunity."
Now, McCarty is tasked with getting to know his players and figuring out next season, but also a first for the 16-year coaching veteran -- getting a staff together.
"I've already reached out to a guy or two about that, and I feel good about bringing in the right people that fit here at ACU. That's exciting for me to have that first opportunity to put a staff together. You see that process as an assistant from a different perspective and so now its my turn and -- it's showtime. I'm looking forward into diving into that as well."
RICK McCARTY CAREER COACHING HIGHLIGHTS
In 16 seasons of collegiate coaching, teams that McCarty has been a part of have a combined record of 609-321 (.655 winning percentage) with eight trips to NCAA regional tournaments. Those teams are also a combined 23-15 in NCAA tournament play and he has been part of coaching staffs that have made four trips to NCAA Division I regional tournaments.
As a full-time pitching coach, his teams have a combined ERA of 4.50 and have averaged 0.8 strikeouts per inning against just 0.4 walks per inning.
Over the last three seasons at Dallas Baptist, Patriot pitchers have a combined 4.37 ERA and have recorded 1,526 strikeouts against just 730 walks in 1,656 innings of work (0.9 strikeouts per inning and 0.4 walks per inning). The 2018 staff set a school record with 556 strikeouts.
He has been on the coaching staff for eight teams that have won at least 40 games – including each of the last three teams at Dallas Baptist where the Patriots have gone 44-19, 42-1 and 42-21 – and been on the staff for two teams that won at least 50 games.
The Patriots have reached three straight regional tournaments: Lubbock Regional in 2016, Fort Worth Regional in 2017 and Fayetteville Regional in 2018. The Patriots won the Missouri Valley Conference Postseason Tournament championship in both 2016 and 2017.
Has produced 11 All-Missouri Valley Conference pitchers in three seasons, including the league’s Pitcher of the Year in 2016 and 2018, and nine different Patriot pitchers have earned conference Pitcher of the Week honors over the last three seasons.
Has coached 57 different players that have earned all-conference honors
Has coached 22 different players who have been selected in the Major League Baseball draft
Has coached 15 different players who have earned All-America honors
Part of two teams at NCAA Division II powerhouse Delta State to appear in the College World Series (2004 and 2005)
Part of the coaching staff for the 2004 NCAA Division II national champions at Delta State University
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING ABOUT RICK McCARTY
“ACU just hit a no doubt home run in hiring Rick McCarty. Rick is a great coach, recruiter and, most importantly, a great person. He is passionate, energetic and has a great feel for every part of the game. He will create a winning culture and will help his players reach their full potential on the field and will develop them in their character and faith as well.”
-- Dallas Baptist head coach Dan Heefner
“A friend once told me, 'Class is hard to define, but easy to recognize.' It's certainly easy to recognize this great quality in Rick McCarty. Rick is a winner on and off the field and will represent Abilene Christian University with class.”
-- Former Kentucky head coach Keith Madison
“I am genuinely excited for this great opportunity for Rick. He is one of the most capable and driven coaches that I’ve had as an assistant. He is a hard worker, passionate and his competitive spirit will give him an opportunity to have great success at ACU. I wish all the best for Rick and his family.”
-- Delta State (Miss.) head coach Mike Kinnison