Sam Houston State didn’t have to look far to find the next leader of the Bearkat baseball program.
The Bearkats will promote associate head coach Jay Sirianni to become the school's 10th head baseball coach. D1Baseball's Kendall Rogers first reported the news Thursday, which was confirmed by university officials.
“I’d like to thank Dr. Hoyt and Bobby Williams for this great opportunity,” Sirianni said. “Sam Houston State is a special place to myself and my family, and it is a great honor to pick up the mantle as the head baseball coach at such a successful university. Our staff and I will work extremely hard to continue the high level of success this program has had.”
Sirianni will be introduced as head coach at a press conference scheduled for Tuesday at 10 a.m.
“This was a diligent process which brought us a number of highly-qualified candidates, but at the end of the day we felt as though the best fit was under our own roof with Jay Sirianni,” Sam Houston State athletics director Bobby Williams said. “Jay has played such a big part in bringing this program to the level it is at, and we feel as though he is ready to continue the success that he has helped build with Bearkat baseball.”
Sirianni — who has served as Sam Houston State's pitching coach for the past five years — takes over for Matt Deggs, who left to take the head coaching job at Louisiana-Lafayette last week.
While with the Bearkats, the Indianola, Iowa native has produced two freshman All-Americans, a third-team All-American and has had seven pitchers selected in the MLB Draft. The Kats have compiled 187 wins since Sirianni’s arrival ahead of the 2015 season, along with three regular-season Southland Conference titles.
In 2017, the Bearkats reached the NCAA super regionals for the first time ever, while also setting a school record with 522 strikeouts.
“Jay is the one of the hardest working, most organized, consistent and prepared coaches that I have ever had the honor of working with,” Deggs said. “Jay was a really good pitcher during his career, but has become an even better coach. ... He cares deeply for his players, is a dynamic recruiter and is exceptional at developing players. Jay’s teams will be hard working, disciplined and won’t beat themselves.
“It’s long overdue that Jay has his own program. This is a proud day for the Sirianni’s, Sam Houston State and for me personally. I look forward to watching Jay and his staff take Sam Houston to even greater heights.”
Prior to joining the Bearkats' staff, Sirianni was the pitching coach and recruiting coordinator for 10 seasons at UT Arlington. During this time, he helped lead the Mavericks to three conference titles and two NCAA Tournament appearances, while coaching 21 pitchers that were drafted or signed contracts with MLB organizations.
Sirianni, a Nebraska alum, joined UT Arlington from Barton County Community College in Great Bend, Kansas, where he began his collegiate coaching career.
“This has been a long time coming, and he will do an outstanding job representing Sam Houston State University and the Bearkat Baseball program,” UT Arlington head coach Darin Thomas said. “The players that pass through the program will be privileged to play for him and better for it.”