Sirianni eager to build on success as Kats' head baseball coach

Joseph Brown/ The ItemSam Houston State head baseball coach Jay Sirianni answers questions from the media during his introductory press conference on Tuesday.

Jay Sirianni has been a part of one of the most successful eras in Sam Houston State baseball history.

Now, as the leader of the program, he wants to help the Bearkats take the next step.

“We've been able to win conference championships, we've won conference tournaments and we've won a regional. Obviously, we need to get through a super regional,” Sirianni said.

“The goal is always Omaha. We will not hide from that. The challenge is obviously a tough one, but we look forward to that. Our guys will work everyday and embrace that challenge, and we can't wait for it to get started.”

Sam Houston State athletics director Bobby Williams officially introduced Sirianni as the program’s 10th head coach on Tuesday at the Bud Haney Diamond Lounge. Sirianni had served as the team’s associate head coach and pitching coach under Matt Deggs for the past five years.

Deggs left the Bearkats earlier this month to accept the head coaching job at Louisiana-Lafayette.

Sirianni marks the fifth head baseball coach that Williams has hired during his tenure. The last three hires have turned out well for the Kats, with Mark Johnson, David Pierce and Deggs combining to go 475-314 over the past 13 seasons.

Williams firmly believes he’s connected on another successful hire.

“To use some baseball terms, I'm 3-for-4 right now,” Williams said. “Three of the coaches have had a lot of success, and I believe I'm going 4-for-5.”

Sirianni has produced two freshman All-Americans, a third-team All-American and has had seven pitchers drafted while at Sam Houston State. The Kats have also won three regular-season titles and two Southland Conference Tournament championships during this time, reaching the NCAA super regionals for the first time in school history in 2017.

The Indianola, Indiana native is excited for the chance to further the program’s growing tradition.

“What we've done here in the past, we've built it,” Sirianni said. “It didn't start with Coach Deggs and I ... it started with the coaches before that. Anytime you get the opportunity to pick up where someone has left off, it's an honor. We understand the expectations, and we look forward to it. It's going to be a challenge, but it's going to be fun.”

After spending “about seven straight days” on the phone speaking to advisors and potential candidates, Williams came to the decision that Sirianni was the man to help the Bearkats take the next step.

“Coach Sirianni gives us the best opportunity at this point in time to continue the success that we've had,” Williams added. “The job that he has done the past five years is what led me to this decision. He's a great person, a great family man and has great baseball knowledge.”