Indiana Daily Student

IU baseball coach Justin Parker heads to South Carolina, Dan Held steps down

<p>Former IU baseball pitching coach Justin Parker poses for a headshot. Parker was hired for the same position at the University of South Carolina last Thursday.</p>

Former IU baseball pitching coach Justin Parker poses for a headshot. Parker was hired for the same position at the University of South Carolina last Thursday.

IU baseball assistant coach Dan Held and pitching coach Justin Parker have both left the program.

According to a University of South Carolina press release, Parker has left the program to take the same position with the Gamecocks. 

The hire was officially announced July 22 after former South Carolina pitching coach Skylar Meade left for the head coaching position at Troy University. 

Parker, who graduated from Wayne High School in Fort Wayne, Indiana, was drafted by the Minnesota Twins during the 43rd round of the 2005 MLB draft, but opted to play college baseball at Wright State University, where he met current IU baseball head coach Jeff Mercer. 

Parker was redrafted in the sixth round of the 2008 MLB Draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks, where he played in their farm system for three years before moving to coaching. He reunited with Mercer as a coach at both Wright State and the University of Central Florida before they made their way to Bloomington in 2019.

During the shortened 2020 season, Parker helped Mercer lead the Hoosiers to a 9-6 record.  IU’s pitching finished with a 3.56 earned run average and wins against No. 11 Louisiana State University, No. 17 East Carolina University and No. 30 University of South Alabama before the COVID-19 pandemic ended the season prematurely. 

Throughout the 2021 conference-only season, Parker’s pitching staff struck out 462 batters in 383.1 innings and posted a 3.17 ERA, the third lowest in the nation. The Hoosiers also finished second in hits allowed per inning with 6.69, only behind Vanderbilt University. 

“Angi and I have been overwhelmed by all the love and support we’ve received the past few days!” Parker said in a tweet.  “We’re so thankful for all the friendships and memories we’ve made in Bloomington but are very excited to begin our next chapter in Columbia!”

Sophomore pitchers McCade Brown, Matt Litwicki, Gabe Bierman and junior pitcher Tommy Sommer, members of Parker’s staff this season, were all selected during the 2021 MLB draft

Mercer released a statement in a tweet thanking Parker for his contributions to the program.

“I would like to thank Justin for everything he gave to our program at Indiana,” Mercer said. “The tremendous investment he made helped us build one of the premier programs in the Big Ten and the nation.”

Assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Dan Held announced he would be stepping away from his position through a tweet. 

He was picked in the 42nd round by the Philadelphia Phillies during the 1993 draft and spent a total of nine seasons in the Phillies and New York Mets minor league affiliates. He then became a bullpen assistant for the St. Louis Cardinals from 2003-2007, where he won a World Series in 2006.

Held officially made his way to the Hoosier state in November of 2006 when he started serving as the executive director of the Indiana Bulls organization, a travel baseball club for ages 8-17. 

During his time with IU baseball, he was able to bring in the No. 23 ranked recruiting class in the NCAA, IU’s highest ever class ranking. 

“Dan has been incredible to work with for the past three seasons as our recruiting coordinator,” Mercer said in a statement. “A major part of our success since we arrived on campus, we are so thankful for Dan’s contributions to our program. He is a big part of what we are building at Indiana University.” 

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