LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Kentucky head coach Gary Henderson (pictured) has been selected to serve as the pitching coach on the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team, it was announced by USA Baseball on Wednesday.
Henderson will join the staff headed by St. John’s head coach Ed Blankmeyer on the 2015 USA Baseball Collegiate National Team during the summer. LSU head coach Paul Mainieri and San Diego head coach Rich Hill – a former teammate of Henderson at San Diego State – will complete the coaching staff.
“I am excited to join the USA Collegiate National Team this summer,” Henderson said. “USA Baseball has such a vital role in promoting and growing our sport. I am excited to help contribute to such a stellar organization and work alongside such a great staff at USA Baseball, including (Executive Director/CEO) Paul Seiler and (General Manager) Eric Campbell. The opportunity to work with some of the best minds in our game, and some of the top student-athletes in college baseball is truly an honor. I am looking forward to joining Rich and Paul on Ed’s staff this summer.”
The 2012 Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year, Henderson is in his eighth year as Kentucky’s head coach and his 12th year on UK’s staff after serving as the associate head coach from 2004-08. Henderson’s previous seven seasons directing the UK program mark the most successful in school history. His time with the Wildcats has been historic, as UK has won an SEC Championship, earned its first ever No. 1 national ranking, and ran up a 22-game winning streak – the second-longest in SEC history. UK’s 2014 season saw its eighth all-time NCAA Tournament berth and was highlighted by the development of unanimous national player of the year AJ Reed, who had one of the top individual seasons in college baseball history. Reed was the NCAA leader in homers, slugging percentage and OPS, and the SEC leader in pitching wins, RBI and on-base percentage.
Henderson’s impact on the UK program can be seen directly in the amount of talent it has produced, as UK seen a program-best 63 players selected in the MLB Draft or signed as a free agent under his guidance, including a program best eight in 2012. Overall, Henderson has seen 25 of his pitchers drafted at Kentucky and a total of 63 of the 162 players drafted in program history have come under his watch, a staggering 39 percent.
Henderson’s time with the 2015 USA Collegiate National Team will mark his second opportunity with USA Baseball, having previously served as an instructor during the 14-Under National Development Team Program, alongside former Arizona State head coach Tim Esmay and former New York Yankees general manager Bob Watson. It marks the first time a UK head coach has joined the USA Collegiate National Team since John Cohen was on the staff of Baylor head coach Steve Smith’s staff on the 2005 USA Collegiate National Team.
Kentucky will now been represented on the USA Collegiate National Team three of the last four seasons, as former centerfielder Austin Cousino was a two-year member of the roster, pacing the club in hitting in 2012.
Kentucky returns to action on Friday, opening a three-game series at Florida’s McKethan Stadium.
Photo by Chet White/UK Athletics