Matt Piker takes over coaching duties for baseball
Matt Piker will assume the duties of the interim Baseball Head Coach immediately and will be elevated to Head Coach on Sept. 1.
Athletic Director Shane Hurley commented, “Matt brought solid administrative and coaching experience when he came here as an assistant. His arrival supported the development of pitching and the team in all aspects. He deserves lots of credit for the baseball recruiting efforts for the class of 2022; he has the hands-on experience and first-hand knowledge of our culture, student-athletes and baseball program to provide continuity to our success. We are excited to announce him as our new baseball head coach.”
Piker joined the Saints’ coaching staff in September 2021 as pitching coach and recruiting coordinator under Head Coach Bryan Aughney. The team finished its season with a 31-24 overall record and a berth in the Red River Athletic Conference (RRAC) postseason tournament. Aughney announced his resignation in July and has taken a high school head coaching position at Harlingen High School in Harlingen, Texas.
“I am excited and honored to be the next Baseball Head Coach at OLLU,” Piker said. “I would like to thank God for his Providence. Without that, I would not be in the position that I am. Thank you to Shane Hurley for this opportunity. I want to thank Coach Aughney for his work in the previous five years at OLLU and for bringing me on board last season. His efforts laid the foundation that we hope to build upon. I would also like to thank my mentors for the time and effort they invested in me. My wife, Haley, and I are thrilled for this opportunity. The OLLU community welcomed us with open arms when we moved here a year ago and quickly made us feel at home. We are ready to get to work.”
Piker’s pitching staff had an impressive season in 2022. Brett Vasquez was named to the RRAC First-Team All-Conference. He became the Saints’ second all-time leader in strikeouts, third all-time leader in shutouts and fourth all-time leader in wins. Vasquez also had the team’s most strikeouts in a season in 2022 with 129 under Piker’s management. The Saints’ 31 wins are the second most in team history, and they recorded their most conference wins ever with 22. The pitching staff also marked the most wins at home with 22 and the most strikeouts with 502.
Before arriving at OLLU, Piker was at Mayville State University (MSU), where he was the pitching coach for four seasons. During his time with the Comets, Piker was a member of two successful seasons that resulted in the 2018 North Star Athletic Association (NSAA) regular-season championships and the 2021 NSAA Conference Tournament Championships.
Piker coached six NSAA First Team All-Conference award winners while at MSU. Mason Swegarden earned honors as the 2018 NSAA Conference Pitcher of the Year and was named an All-American, and Kenny Stewart also was named an All-American during the 2021 campaign. In 2021, the MSU pitching staff finished the season ranked in the Top 15 in the country in ERA and averaged just more than eight strikeouts per game.
Before MSU, Piker was a graduate assistant at Arkansas Tech University (ATU) from 2015-2017. While earning his Master of Science in College Student Personnel, he oversaw the outfielders, coached first base and coached the pitching staff. Several of his players also won postseason awards under his tutelage there.
Piker arrived at ATU from the University of the Ozarks, where he also played and began his coaching career after receiving his Bachelor of Science in Physical and Health Education.
For the past eight years, Piker has been a member of the American Baseball Coaches Association. He has been actively involved with collegiate summer ball throughout his career. He was the assistant coach of the Briarcliffe Seagulls in the Beach Collegiate Baseball League in 2015 and the head coach of the Chesterfield Vipers in the Mid-Atlantic Collegiate League from 2016-2017.