CARBONDALE — Lance Rhodes, an assistant coach at Missouri, has agreed to be SIU's new head baseball coach, according to a report from D1Baseball.com Wednesday.
Rhodes, a 2008 Southeast Missouri State graduate, is in his third season as an assistant with the Tigers. Missouri went 34-22-1 overall and 13-16-1 in the Southeastern Conference this year, winning eight games against top-20 teams. The Tigers took two of three against No. 20 Ole Miss, No. 8 LSU and No. 23 Tennessee, and also beat No. 11 Texas A&M and No. 2 Vanderbilt.
Missouri's 70 victories in his first two seasons as an assistant coach were the most ever for a new coaching staff (head coach Steve Bieser came over from SEMO with Rhodes) and the most since 2008-09. As the pitching coach/recruiting coordinator at SEMO with Bieser, Rhodes brought in two Ohio Valley Conference pitchers of the year and helped the Redhawks to an NCAA regional appearance in 2016.
Missouri's 2018 recruiting class (Rhodes was the recruiting coordinator there) included two Gatorade baseball players of the year (Seth Halvorsen in Minnesota and Luke Mann in Missouri) and was ranked 17th in the nation by Collegiate Baseball News. It was ranked 20th in the country by D1Baseball.com and 30th by Baseball America.
A former pitcher and volunteer assistant coach at SEMO, Rhodes returned to Cape Girardeau after serving three years as an assistant coach at Wabash Valley College. Rhodes helped the Warriors win 95 games in two years as the pitching coach, including back-to-back Great Rivers Athletic Conference regular-season titles. During his tenure, the Warriors won the GRAC tournament for the first time in 14 years in 2010.
Rhodes graduated from SEMO in 2008 with a degree in general studies, with an emphasis in physical education. He made 37 appearances for the Redhawks over two seasons, compiling a 5-5 record with 67 innings pitched. The Sikeston, Missouri native earned his master's degree in physical education from Emporia State (Kansas) University.
Rhodes and his wife, Brittney, have two sons, Max and Cooper.
Rhodes succeeds Ken Henderson, who parted ways with SIU after 11 seasons. The Salukis finished 26-29 overall and last in the Missouri Valley Conference (5-16) last season. They won two games at the MVC tournament before getting eliminated by Indiana State.
SIU could return three of its top-four hitters from last season's squad, and all three of its weekend starters. The Salukis lost their top reliever, Justin Yeager, to the MLB draft, but could return closer Trey McDaniel (1-3, 4.06 ERA, 14 saves) and several bullpen contributors from the 2019 season.