Lance Rhodes announced as Saluki baseball head coach

CARBONDALE, Ill. – Southern Illinois University Director of Athletics Jerry Kill announced that Missouri assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Lance Rhodes has been named the eighth head coach in the history of the Saluki Baseball program.

“This is a big day for our baseball program,” SIU Director of Athletics Jerry Kill said. “We landed a proven guy and a great fit in Lance Rhodes. You talk to a lot of candidates who have specialized, but he has coached everything in baseball. He has done it all. In the hierarchy of young coaches, he was one of the most sought-after assistants in the country. He brings a lot of things to the table, but the No. 1 thing: He can flat-out recruit. That’s a big part of being successful, and he’s had great success at every place he’s been.”

“My family and I are beyond excited to join SIU and the Carbondale community, and I want to thank Coach Kill for entrusting me with this storied program,” Rhodes said. “Our staff will be dedicated to student-athlete success academically, socially and athletically. Our program will be committed to disciplined thoughts and actions in our pursuit of Missouri Valley Conference championships.”

Rhodes (age 34) has led turnarounds at Southeast Missouri and Missouri in the last seven years. After Rhodes arrived at SEMO in 2013 with head coach Steve Bieser, the Redhawks won three-straight Ohio Valley Conference championships from 2014-16, culminating in an OVC Tournament championship and NCAA Tournament appearance in 2016. In Rhodes’ final three years in Cape Girardeau, SEMO went 112-64 (.636) overall and 67-23 (.744) in the OVC. Three of SEMO’s five 35+ win seasons all-time came under Rhodes, including a school-record 39 wins in 2016.

In Rhodes first season at Mizzou in 2017, the Tigers won 36 games, the most for the program since 2008. In Rhodes’ three seasons at Mizzou, the Tigers won at least 34 games each year, the most for the program over a three-year span since 2006-08. Mizzou also won 39 total SEC games in that span, the most successful conference stretch since it joined the SEC prior to the 2013 season. Mizzou earned spots in the national top-25 polls every season, reaching as high as No. 18 nationally in 2018.

A proven recruiter, Rhodes has earned national recognition for his recruiting classes at Mizzou, pulling in top-35 ranked classes in each of his three seasons. His 2019 recruiting class was ranked No. 17 in the nation by Collegiate Baseball.

Rhodes has also developed that talent into highly successful players, coaching three OVC Pitchers of the Year, two conference players of the year, 28 MLB draft picks, two Freshman All-Americans and two Academic All-Americans — all in the last 10 years.

He has worked with both pitchers and hitters and seen dramatic improvements in both. While Rhodes served as pitching coach at SEMO, the Redhawks the OVC in opponent batting average twice (2015, 16), strikeouts (2015), walks allowed (2016), wins (2016), and double plays three times (2013, 14, 15). When Rhodes flipped to working with hitters at Mizzou, the Tigers saw dramatic jumps in batting average (by 13 points), home runs (by 21), doubles (by 22), slugging percentage (by 53 points), walks (by 42), on-base percentage (by 15 points), stolen bases (by 12) and fielding percentage.

Rhodes played at Saint Louis (2005-06) and Southeast Missouri (2007-08) and earned his bachelor’s degree from SEMO in 2008. He earned a master’s degree from Emporia State in 2010.

Rhodes and his wife, Brittney, have three sons, Max, Cooper and Hank.

Rhodes agreed to a five-year contract worth $130,000 annually.

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