Jacksonville State University has hired another former South Alabama coach for their sports program. Rick Pietri was named the women’s head basketball coach by JSU athletic director Warren Koegel on Monday.
Pietri was the head coach at South Alabama for 13 seasons and turned the Lady Jaguar team into a contender in the Sun Belt Conference. He led the team to back-to-back Sun Belt West Division titles in 2003 and 2004.
The Jags made consecutive WNIT postseason appearances in 2003 and 2004 and is the all-time winningest coach in Lady Jaguars history with a career record of 220-167. Prior to Pietri’s arrival, the Lady Jags had posted 10 consecutive losing seasons.
In Pietri’s first season in the 2000-01 season the Jags posted and improved 13-16 record and was the most by the program in over 10 years and was just two wins fewer than the 15 wins combined over the previous two seasons. In his second season, the Lady Jags started out 16-5 in its first 21 games of the season while posting the first winning season since the 1989-90 season with a 17-11 record. Then the third season the Lady Jags finished 22-7 after opening the season 14-1 to win the division championship for the second consecutive year.
The Lady Jags had a 130-54 record overall at home. He led the Lady Jags to a winning season in five of his last six seasons at South Alabama.
Pietri is a South Alabama Alum and began his collegiate coaching career as a men’s assistant at Spring Hill College for four season from 1989 through 1993. He then joined Duane Reboul’s staff at Birmingham Southern for 1993-94. He began his head coaching career as the boys’ coach at B.C. Rain High School from 1994-98 where he went 106-32 over four seasons and making four consecutive final four appearances and earning 5A Coach of the Year honors in 1998. He then spent two seasons coaching the boys at St. Paul’s Episcopal School in Mobile before becoming the head coach at South Alabama in April of 2000.
Pietri takes over a team that finished just 1-27 overall and 1-15 in their conference last season.
Back in December, JSU announced the hiring of former South Alabama defensive coordinator Bill Clark as their head football coach. Clark brought Duwan Walker with his to be his defensive coordinator and also hired former South Alabama assistant coach Chuck Dunn to coach the inside linebackers and to serve as the Strength and conditioning coach.
South Alabama’s most experienced offensive lineman, Melvin Meggs, will miss the 2013 season due to a torn ACL suffered in offseason workouts head coach Joey Jones announced on Monday.
Meggs, a 6’3″ 310-pound junior from Petal, Mississippi, had been earning plenty of preseason attention as the 2013 season approached but will miss entire season with his injury.
Meggs came to South Alabama from Petal High School and signed with the Jaguars when they were unclassified by the NCAA. Thus he had the opportunity to play all five seasons, including what is considered his redshirt season. Which means he cannot claim the 2013 season as a redshirt season, however he will be able to return for his senior season in 2014.
Meggs was credited with 76 knockdown blocks and graded 90 percent or better in six of the Jaguars 13 games last season including a 94 percent grade against Middle Tennessee State.
Meggs was one of two offensive players who started all 13 games last season. He was on the field for all but 15 of the Jaguars’ 938 offensive plays while only allowing one sack. He was not called for a holding or false start penalty all season.
Coach Jones said that losing an experienced player on offense will be a tough blow. But his surgery went well and is expected to be ready in six months. Though they never want to lose an experienced player like Melvin, Jones did say that they have more depth than the program has ever had in it’s short history. He said most of that depth is coming from the Jaguars redshirt freshmen class.
Additionally, Clay Machen will miss about four weeks with surgery to correct a torn meniscus but will be ready when camp begins this summer.
The University announced kickoff times for the first three contests late last week. The Jags season opener against Southern Utah will kick off on Thursday, August 29 at 6:30pm. The Jags road game in New Orleans on September 7 will kick off at 2:30pm and the Jags first Sun Belt Conference game of the season on September 14 against Western Kentucky will kick off at 6:30pm.
They did not announce if any of the first three games will be available on television. The kickoff times for remaining nine games of the 2013 schedule will be announced at a later date.
The University of South Alabama baseball program had four players selected in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft over the weekend.
On the second day of the draft the Colorado Rockies chose Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year Jordan Patterson with the third pick of the fourth round, the 109th pick overall. Kyle Bartsch was chosen by the Kansas City Royals with the eighth pick of the seventh round, which was the 204th overall pick.
Dylan Stamey was chosen by the Colorado Rockies with the third pick of the 14th round, the 409th pick overall. Also Nolan Earley was selected in the 22nd round by the Chicago White Sox for the 663rd pick overall.
Patterson was named to the first-team all-conference team as a utility player this spring. He was sixth in the Sun Belt with a .352 batting average. He collected 82 hits, 25 doubles, 69 runs scored and 49 RBI. The junior from Mobile was walked 41 times and hit by a pitch 21 times. He also had a .485 on-base percentage to lead the conference and was tied for the conference lead in doubles while finishing second in runs.
Patterson also earned a 1.84 ERA on the mound with two saves and 17 strikeouts with only six walks in 14 2/3 innings pitched. Patterson is the highest Jaguar selection since Adam Lind was selected in the third round in 2004.
Bartsch, a Hurst, Texas native, had a 3-0 record with 12 saves and a 3.12 ERA in 22 appearances this past season, all in relief. He was voted to the Second-team All-SBC team as he struck out 35 batters in 26 innings of work. He only walked 11 and held opponents to only a .189 batting average.
Bartsch finished second in the conference in saves while tying the school record in the category that was originally set by former All-American Mike Nakamura in 1998. He is the first Jaguar in program history to earn 10 or more saves in back-to-back seasons. He leaves the program as the all-time leader with 22 saves in two seasons.
Stamey made 24 appearances in relief as he went 5-2 with a 2.17 ERA and four saves. He struck out 62 batters and walked only nine. He finished second on the team in strikeouts with only 37 1/3 innings of work. He held opponents to a .209 batting average in his junior season, his first with the Jaguars.
Earley, a senior last season from Anderson, Indiana, led the Jags with 59 RBI with a .323 batting average with 19 doubles and 50 runs scored. He finished second on the team with 76 base hits and had a .411 on-base percentage with 36 walks. He was fourth in the Sun Belt Conference in RBI and among the top 10 in doubles.
The Jags finished 43-20 overall and 20-10 in Sun Belt play on the season and advanced to the NCAA Regional for the first time since 2004.