MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State Head Baseball Coach Brad Hill has announced the hiring of Andy Sawyers as assistant coach. Sawyers, who comes to K-State with impressive credentials after working on Big 12 Conference championship staffs at Nebraska and Texas A&M, will serve as the Wildcats’ hitting coach while also working with the team’s catchers.
“We are extremely excited about the addition of Andy to our staff,” said Hill, who just completed his fifth season by guiding the Wildcats to their first championship-game appearance in the Phillips 66 Big 12 tournament. “His experience as both a player and coach in the Big 12 Conference, combined with a very successful stint as a head coach at Hutchinson Community College here in Kansas, makes him the perfect fit for our program. He’s been a part of five Big 12 championships and has recruited a number of players that went on to All-Big 12 careers, so he understands what it takes to get to that level. When you combine that with his numerous contacts in this part of the country, he will build on his already established reputation of being a top-notch recruiter here at K-State.”
Sawyers replaces Lane Burroughs, who resigned after one season at K-State to become an assistant coach at Mississippi State.
Sawyers, who played at Nebraska, spent five years as an assistant for the Cornhuskers before joining the coaching staff last season at Texas A&M.
“I know our players are excited to get the opportunity to work with Andy,” Hill said. “He’s a hard-worker and has great passion for teaching the game. As a hitting coach, he brings a wealth of experience to our program, having helped to develop numerous All-Big 12 and professional prospects. Furthermore, being a former catcher in the Big 12 and having coached some of the top catchers in our league over the last several years is a huge plus.”
At Texas A&M this past season, Sawyers handled the outfielders and assisted hitting coach Jeremy Talbot in producing a Big 12 regular-season championship and a berth into the school’s second-straight NCAA Super Regional. He helped coach junior shortstop Jose Duran to both Big 12 Newcomer and Player of the Year Awards, as well as five other Aggies who were named All-Big 12 in 2008.
“I’m excited about the opportunity to join the K-State program as I’ve always had great respect for Coach Hill and look forward to working for and learning from him,” Sawyers said. “As an opposing coach, I’ve watched the program make great improvements over time, being on the verge of an NCAA Regional the last two years. They’ve done a great job recruiting and developing athletes as I’ve seen their teams get faster and stronger each year. I’ve also noticed the tremendous improvements K-State has made to its facilities, so obviously there is a strong commitment from the administration. For those reasons, I think the timing couldn’t be better for me to join the program at K-State.”
Prior to his appointment at Texas A&M, Sawyers was an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Nebraska for the 2003-07 seasons, helping the Huskers earn four trips to the NCAA Tournament, including a showing at the 2005 College World Series. Sawyers worked with 13 Huskers who were selected in the Major League draft, including two-time Big 12 Player of the Year Alex Gordon, who, in 2005, won five national player-of-the-year awards before being taken as the second overall pick by the Kansas City Royals.
"He knows what he's talking about when it comes to hitting,” Gordon said. “He's one of the smartest coaches I have had the pleasure of playing for. K-State is making a great pickup hiring Andy Sawyers."
Sawyers took on all hitting responsibilities at Nebraska beginning with the 2006 season, when the team batted .310 – its best mark in four years – and ranked in the top three of the Big 12 in home runs, stolen bases, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. He also served as the academic coordinator and worked with the catchers during his time in Lincoln. Additionally, Sawyers helped the Huskers recruit their highest-rated class in school history, as the 2004 recruiting class was ranked 16th nationally by Collegiate Baseball.
After serving as the volunteer assistant at Nebraska in 2000, Sawyers spent the 2001 and 2002 seasons as the head coach at Hutchinson Community College, compiling an 87-30 record and two postseason berths. In 2001, the Dragons went 40-16 and won the Jayhawk West Sub-Regional, while the 2002 squad set a school record with 47 wins and was ranked as high as seventh by the NJCAA.
Sawyers’ coaching career began at Northwestern (La.) State in 1999 as the volunteer assistant coach, working on the same staff as current Wildcat pitching coach Sean McCann. That season, the Demons went 38-21 en route to a second-place finish in the Southland Conference.
Sawyers began his playing career at Point Loma (Calif.) Nazarene College in 1994. Following a year off, he played at Mendocino (Calif.) Junior College in 1996 before finishing up his playing career at Nebraska as the catcher for the 1997 and 1998 teams. He started 76 career games at Nebraska, including 59 contests in 1997 when he batted .268.
A native of Willits, Calif., Sawyers is married to the former Dena Lindeblad and received his bachelor’s (1998) and masters (2000) degrees from Nebraska.