Allen Gum, who has led Southern Arkansas University to five straight 40-plus win seasons, is the new baseball coach at the University of Central Arkansas.
He succeeds Doug Clark, who was dismissed after last season.
The Muleriders were 47-10 last season, won the Gulf South Conference and reached the finals of the NCAA Division II South Regional. SAU was 52-11 last season.
Brad Teague, UCA athletic director, picked Gum out of a pool of about 50 applicants. He reduced that to a final four of what he described, "as just outstanding coaches, either of whom I could see being very successful here."
He said the applicants ranged from top assistants at Big 12 and SEC schools as well as assistants from NCAA Division I and II schools.
"What set Allen apart at the end of the day, in addition to his outstanding record, was he had head coaching experience at the college level and he is an Arkansan," Teague said. "Both of those things ultimately made the difference."
Gum grew up in Bentonville and later starred for SAU. He has served as an assistant at Sheridan and as head coach at Batesville High School.
"I've lived in every corner of the state and central Arkansas is where I want to live," sai Gum. "I've excited about coaching at UCA because I'm excited about having the whole state open to recruit and there is a lot of good baseball in Arkansas."
Gum played college baseball two years at Crowder Community College in Missouri before playing two years at SAU for coach Steve Goodheart, who retired after 23 seasons in 2003. He led SAU in hitting in 1990 with a .338 average and had a .975 field average as an outfielder. As a senior, he hit .328 and fielded. .961, helping the Muleriders to a sixth straight Arkansas Intercollegiate Conference championship. At the NAIA World Series that year, he received the Charles Berry Hustle Award.
His record as head coach at SAU was 226-68 in five seasons.
"I've always thought there was potential for a great program at UCA," Gum said today. "The facilities are there and the administrative support is in place."
Teague said Gum's annual salary will be $65,000. He bring Dallas Black, an assistant at SAU, with him to be recruiting coordinator and assistant coach. He will retain Wes Johnson, a UCA assistant, as his pitching coach.