Neil Groat, a longtime assistant at Hendrix and a former player, has taken the reins of the Hendrix baseball program.
He replaces R.J. Thomas, who left earlier in the summer for the head coaching position at Southwestern University. Groat spent the past seven years on the Hendrix staff, working with the infielders, and has been the recruiting coordinator since 2008.
“After conducting a national search, we felt the best person to build on the success of our baseball program was one of our own,” said Amy Weaver, Hendrix director of athletics. He has a wealth of recruiting experience and is a student of the game. We have the utmost confidence in Neil and have high expectations for him and the future of the Warrior baseball program.”
“I am incredibly excited to be named head baseball coach at Hendrix,” Groat said. “There is always something special about working at your alma mater and to be able to lead the program where you played is a great opportunity. I feel lucky to take over a program that has been good in the past few years and I am thankful to be able to continue what coach Thomas has built over the past six seasons.”
In his first year in charge of recruiting, Groat orchestrated the addition of a 14-member class. The group, arguably the deepest and most talented in Warrior history, hailed from six states and was a major contributing factor in the Warriors’ 2009 Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Championship.
Under Groat’s direction, all four of Hendrix’s starting infielders were named All-SCAC in both 2009 and 2010 and the Warriors have seen their team defense improve from a .927 fielding percentage in his first season to a program-best .965 in 2012.
A four-year starter for the Warriors, Groat was a three-time member of the SCAC Academic Honor Roll. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and a minor in Spanish from Hendrix in the spring of 2005. Groat is currently working toward a Masters of Liberal Studies degree with an emphasis in Health and Human Performance at Fort Hays State University in Kansas.
In addition to his baseball responsibilities, Groat served as an Assistant Director of Admission at Hendrix. He recruited students from Dallas/Fort Worth and Austin, Texas, Washington D.C., Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, and Illinois.
The Warriors will return 19 players from last year’s team that tied the school record with 22 wins.