Hoosier baseball fans won’t have to wait any longer to find out who will replace Chris Lemonis as head coach in Bloomington.
On Monday, IU announced Jeff Mercer will be the school’s 25th head baseball coach.
The 32-year-old Mercer spent the last two seasons as the head coach at Wright State, his alma mater, in Dayton, Ohio. During this period, he led the Raiders to a 77-38 overall record.
Wright State also appeared in national top 25 rankings under Mercer and appeared in the 2018 NCAA Tournament, losing in the Stanford Regional. Mercer also won a Horizon League regular season and conference tournament title while at Wright State.
Despite his short track record, Mercer is considered by many to be an up-and-coming coach. He was named the 2018 Horizon League Coach of the Year and developed 12 players who he has recruited into MLB draft picks since 2015.
Before becoming the Wright State head coach, he was an assistant coach with the Raiders from 2014-16.
Prior to his return to Wright State, Mercer spent two seasons as a volunteer assistant coach at Western Kentucky in 2012 and 2013. He was also a volunteer assistance coach in 2011 at the University of Michigan.
He spent the 2010 season as a graduate assistant coach at Ohio Northern University.
During his collegiate career, Mercer played two seasons at the University of Dayton before transferring to Wright State, where he was twice named a first team All-Horizon League honoree as a first baseman in 2008 and 2009.
"Jeff Mercer quickly rose to the top of an impressive field,” IU Athletic Director Fred Glass said in a IU press release. “I have no doubt that he is the right person to build on the success of Indiana baseball, including taking us back to Omaha."
In becoming the head coach of the IU program, Mercer returns to his home state. The coach is a native of Bargersville, Indiana, which is northeast of Bloomington. His father was an assistant baseball coach at IU from 1988 to 1989 and helped found the Indiana Bulls AAU baseball program.
"I have loved baseball and the state of Indiana my whole life and it is an honor to be the head baseball coach of the state's flagship institution," Mercer said in the press release. "With the talent that the Midwest is producing, top notch facilities, the commitment of the school and our ability to recruit and develop players at the highest level, the sky is the limit for IU baseball. I cannot wait to get to work."
According to reports, IU and Mercer agreed to a five-year contract with a base salary of $225,000.
"After speaking with Coach Mercer, it became very obvious that our program will be in great hands," senior pitcher Pauly Milto said in a press release. "His confidence, experience, competitive mentality, and strong urge to win proved to me that we will be successful next year. I'm excited not only for this upcoming season, but for the future of Indiana University baseball as I believe Coach Mercer is here to stay and take this baseball program to the next level."
Mercer will be formally introduced at a press conference later this summer.
Auston Matricardi and Cameron Drummond