Matt Deggs joins Sam Houston State as the school’s eighth head baseball coach, Athletics Director Bobby Williams announced Friday. The former hitting coach for Louisiana-Lafayette, Texas A&M and Arkansas will bring his aggressive offensive approach to the Bearkats.
“I am very humbled and honored to have this opportunity and it is a privilege for me and my family to come be a part of Sam Houston State,” Deggs said. “I’m excited for the opportunity to lead the Bearkats in this new era of baseball and to be a great steward of the program that Mark Johnson and David Pierce did such a great job leading. We’re ready to hit the ground running.”
Deggs served as the Louisiana-Lafayette hitting coach and third base coach, while also overseeing team personnel and recruiting. The Cajuns were a game away from the College World Series in 2014, while the squad posted the most wins in both Sun Belt and program history, finishing the season with 58 victories.
For the second straight season Deggs guided an offense that was revered as the best in college baseball. Louisiana-Lafayette finished the season ranked in the top 10 in the nation in 14 offensive categories and had an OPS of .902.
“This was an unbelievable search process. We talked with so many great people about our baseball program,” Bobby Williams said. “All of the finalists were great but we feel that Matt Deggs is the best person to lead our program in the future.”
A formal introduction of Deggs will be scheduled for a later date.
Deggs inherits a team that has won three straight Southland titles and played in three straight NCAA Regionals while winning 121 games over that stretch. The Bearkats have appeared in the NCAA postseason in six of the last eight seasons.
“This is such an exciting opportunity. The two schools (SHSU & ULL) are very comparable, from a facility standpoint, from a fan-base standpoint and from the support of the administration. Sam Houston is in such a great location, being a part of the Houston area and in the heart of the state of Texas. I’m going to come in and make the most of it,” said Deggs.
The Cajuns became the first team in Sun Belt history to host both an NCAA regional and super regional. The team also earned the school’s first-ever national seed in the NCAA tournament. The regional appearance marks 10 NCAA Regional squads for Deggs with three different programs (Arkansas, Texas A&M, Louisiana-Lafayette). The Ragin’ Cajuns became the first team in the history of ULL athletics to earn top billing in the nation in any sport with a No. 1 ranking in the Collegiate Baseball weekly poll.
The No. 1 ranking marked the third time in Deggs career that he was a member of a program that was ranked inside of the top 5 during a season, including two teams that ascended to the No. 1 spot in the nation. Following the program’s second Sun Belt Tournament championship, the Cajuns were tabbed as the unanimous No. 1 team headed into the NCAA Tournament.
“I’m so thankful for the great opportunity that I was blessed with at Louisiana-Lafayette,” said Deggs. “I think we can do the same things at Sam Houston and everything is in place to do the same things. The support from administration and fan base is exceptional. I can’t wait to get in there and meet the team.”
After hitting just .263 with 18 home runs in 2012, the Cajuns exploded under Deggs’ direction in 2013. At the conclusion of the regular season the Cajuns were ranked inside the Top 5 in the NCAA in eight offensive categories.
With the improved production, the Cajuns once again found themselves in postseason play. ULL was awarded the No. 2 seed at the Baton Rouge Regional where the Cajuns rallied from an opening loss to Sam Houston, to ultimately fall in the regional final to host LSU.
In two full seasons with the Ragin’ Cajun baseball program, Deggs and his aggressive “Pack Mentality” offensive style have helped the Cajuns in amassing a 101-30 overall record, a Sun Belt Conference regular season championship, a Sun Belt Conference Tournament championship and a regional championship.
The squads also produced two trips to the NCAA tournament, the school’s first ever national seed, 15 all-conference athletes, a Sun Belt player of the year, a conference tournament MVP, the program’s first ever member of Team USA (Blake Trahan) and three All-Americans and two Freshmen All-Americans.
Most impressive however is the fact that with all the wins, the Cajuns also won the award for best team grade point average in the Sun Belt Conference with a 3.30 GPA.
Prior to joining the Cajuns staff, Deggs previously served as associate head coach at Texas A&M for Rob Childress from 2006-2011. While in College Station, Deggs coached third base, oversaw, and ran the Aggie offense in addition to overseeing team personnel.
Deggs spent three seasons at the University of Arkansas as the hitting coach and recruiting coordinator for Dave Van Horn from 2003 to 2005. The Razorbacks appeared in the NCAA tournament in each of his three seasons and made a trip to the College World Series in 2004.
Prior to his stint at Arkansas, Deggs tallied a record of 187-100 as the head coach at Texarkana College. In his five-year stay at Texarkana, Deggs led the team to two Texas Eastern Athletic Conference runner-up finishes, a pair of TEAC Titles (2001-2002), and the school’s first ever trip to the Junior College World Series.
Deggs spent the 1996 and 1997 seasons as the hitting and infield coach at Northwestern State under Van Horn, helping the Demons to the Southland Conference Title in 1997. His Infield units ranked among the top infield groups in the country in both seasons.
Deggs was an infielder at Alvin Junior College from 1991-92 and at Northwood University from 1993-94. Deggs received his master’s degree from Northwestern State in December of 1996.
He played professionally for three years for the Mobile (Ala.) Baysharks and the Tennessee Tomahawks, two of which were spent as a player/coach under former Boston Red Sox manager Butch Hobson and former Red Sox catcher Mike O’Berry.
Deggs is married to the former Kathy Saldua and the couple has a son, Kyler, and two daughters, Klaire and Khloe.
“I want to thank everyone, especially my wife and kids, as well as my friends and family that have stood by me through my coaching career. I will miss the guys I’m going to leave behind at ULL. I sincerely want to thank the coaches and players. Their sacrifice and dedication has led me to this opportunity at Sam Houston,” Deggs said.