ST. CHARLES, Mo. — Lindenwood baseball coach Doug Bletcher announced Monday that the 2023 season will be his final year leading the program.
“I am proud to have worked for two outstanding schools over the last 27 years, at Culver-Stockton College and Lindenwood University,” said Bletcher. “Both institutions from the top on down were led by great people and gave unbelievable support to the baseball programs. With respect to the baseball players, I am thankful to have been able to coach the highest quality of human beings that a coach could ever ask for over the years.”
“Not only did they perform well on the diamond, but they also represented the Universities in the highest possible light off the field academically and socially,” Bletcher continued. “They were and still are WINNERS on the field and in life itself. A man/coach couldn’t have asked and been delivered any more than I was given.”
Bletcher kicks off the 16th and final season at Lindenwood
Bletcher begins his 16th season as the headman of Lions baseball this spring. Overall, it marks his 25th overall as a collegiate head coach. During his career, Bletcher has accumulated a record of 811-483-2 (.626) as a head coach. This includes a 452-277-1 (.620) mark at Lindenwood.
Bletcher led the Lions to five conference championships (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2017, 2021). In addition, the Lions won two titles at the NCAA level (2017 MIAA, 2021 GLVC). In 2017, the Lions won the MIAA Tournament Championship, before making their first-ever NCAA DII World Series Appearance. Lindenwood returned to the NCAA Division II Regional Tournament in 2021. Bletcher has helped produce two draft picks, Geoff Hartlieb and Matt Meier. Two other players, Connor Law and Brendan Feldmann, inked free-agent contracts following the 2017 season.
Coomer: Bletcher “has been a treasure” to our baseball program
“Coach Bletcher has been a treasure to our baseball program, department, and institution,” said VP for Intercollegiate Athletics Jason Coomer. “We look forward to having Coach at the helm this year as he continues to make history by leading our young men into the Division I era. While we will miss seeing Coach in the dugout next season, we certainly wish him the best as he begins the next chapter.”
“The impact he has had on the lives of so many student-athletes is a testament to the importance that coach has placed on being a leader both on and off the field,” Coomer adds. “It is clear to all that he will be sorely missed, as he is the face of Lindenwood baseball. Coach Bletcher will always be a part of our program. We look forward to seeing him for many years to come supporting the Lions.”
In 2021, Lindenwood earned the No. 1 ranking during the season for the first time in the NCAA era. Lindenwood went on the win the GLVC Tournament Championship, which was held at Lou Brock Sports Complex. Bletcher was named the ABCA/Diamond Region Coach of the Year after the 2017 season, as the Lions swept the Central Region Tournament. Bletcher led the baseball program to four 40-win seasons, each of which saw a conference championship. In 2013, Bletcher was inducted into the Culver-Stockton Hall of Fame. During his tenure, Bletcher led the Wildcats to four conference titles and nine regional tournament appearances.
“Lastly, the assistant coaches were outstanding and I am grateful for all the hard work, support, and loyalty those coaches provided the baseball programs over the years. Our level of success could not have been achieved without their level of sacrifice and commitment to the game.”
Excitement for the upcoming season
Bletcher expressed his excitement for the upcoming season and his love for the baseball program.
“What a great time to be moving into the inaugural year of the OVC Conference and NCAA Division I for me to step aside at the conclusion of this season and watch the program reach even further heights of accolades and accomplishments.”
Lindenwood opens the season on Friday, February 17 in Thibodaux, La. to take on Nicholls State in a four-game series. The Lions host Minnesota State on Friday, February 24 for the first home action of the season at Lou Brock Sports Complex in St. Charles, Mo.