APSU Sports Information
Clarksville, TN – A day after Gary McClure became the first Ohio Valley Conference baseball coach in history to record 800 career victories, Austin Peay State University has announced it has signed its longtime coach to a four-year extension through the 2017-18 season.
McClure, who has led Austin Peay baseball to three straight NCAA tournaments and six overall, became only the 28th active coach with 800 career victories, Sunday, when the Governors defeated Iowa, 7-4.
“Coach Gary McClure is the most celebrated and accomplished baseball coach in the history of the Ohio Valley Conference,” said Athletics Director Derek van der Merwe. “He has developed a program of outstanding student-athletes and assistant coaches that are a major force in Division I baseball that cannot be ignored or taken lightly. This new four-year contract represents our commitment to him and his leadership.”
“I am pleased and excited to have signed a contract extension to continue coaching Austin Peay baseball in the foreseeable future,” McClure said. “I also appreciate President Tim Hall and Athletics Director Derek van der Merwe were willing and committed to make this happen.
“I obviously started my coaching career here and the University as well as the community have been very good to both me and my family. I am truly excited about where our program is headed and the fact that this contract will take me through 2018. My team and I will continue advancing the program and building on the success we have attained over the last several years. I believe the program has the potential to reach even greater heights.
“I would also like thank my present and past players, my assistant coaches and the support staff here at Austin Peay, as well as the alumni, boosters and our fans. These individuals and groups have all played a key role in my success throughout the years.”
Since becoming APSU’s interim head coach in Fall 1987 as a graduate assistant and being named fulltime head coach the following spring, McClure has led the program to unprecedented heights. During McClure’s 27-year Austin Peay tenure, the Govs have achieved 19 of the program’s 24 all-time league postseason appearances, including those six NCAA Baseball Tournament trips. Austin Peay has won six NCAA tournament regional games under McClure and reached the regional championship round at Oregon in 2012 and Indiana in 2013.
Not only is the Iowa native the Governors all-time wins leader but he became the OVC’s all-time wins as well leader during the 2013 season.
On the field, McClure’s players have earned a number of awards, including three OVC “Player of the Year” awards (Randy McDermott, 1992, Nate Manning, 1996, and Craig Massoni, 2013) and nine OVC “Pitcher of the Year” honors: Jamie Walker (1992), Shane Dortch (1994), Craig Smith (1996), Mike Weel (2000), Jeff Mault (2004), Rowdy Hardy (2005), Shawn Kelley (2007), Jeremy Dobbs (2011) and Tyler Rogers (2013). McClure also has cultivated 48 first-team All-OVC players during his career.
Additionally, McClure has seen 46 players signed by major league ball clubs, including five who have advanced to the major league level. Currently three of his former players are on major-league rosters: catcher A. J. Ellis is in sixth season with the Los Angeles Dodgers; pitcher Shawn Kelley is his sixth major league season, his second with the New York Yankees, and pitcher Matt Reynolds is in his fourth season, now in his second with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
McClure also has been instrumental in making Raymond C. Hand Park – the Governors home field since 1970 – one of the OVC’s top baseball facilities. Through his leadership, Hand Park has seen the addition of lighting (1993), chair-back seating (1994), replacement and restructuring of the perimeter fence and most recently the addition of an indoor practice facility (2011). New dugouts are on tap in the near future.
The on-field product also has improved along with the facility, with the new millennium bringing McClure and the Governors to levels previously unknown to the program. In the 13 seasons since 2000, Austin Peay has recorded 465 wins, including 10 30-victory-plus seasons. Additionally, the Govs also have won 205 OVC contests, captured a league-best five regular-season titles and won the league’s tournament five times.