FROM CBB NEWS SOURCE
James arrives to UAPB after spending the previous two seasons at the University of Arkansas-Monticello where he served in the same capacity. The Pine Bluff native took over the struggling UAM Baseball team and turned them into a legitimate conference contender during his two years at the helm of program.
With his hire, James became the first African-American head coach at UAM for any sport, as well as the first in the Gulf South Conference for baseball.
“We’re extremely pleased to be able to bring in someone of Coach James caliber to lead our baseball team,” said UAPB Athletic Director Louis “Skip” Perkins Jr. “He has been successful on every level of baseball one can imagine and we feel confident that he will take our program to new heights during his tenure as Head Baseball Coach at Arkansas-Pine Bluff.”
James recently completed his second full season as UAM’s skipper with an overall record of 20-26 and a 4-16 mark against GSC West Division opponents. It was the first 20-win season for the UAM baseball team since 2006.
In his first full season as the UAM skipper, James led the Boll Weevils to a 9-37-1 overall record after finishing the 2008 season as the team’s interim head coach.
Prior to the 2009 season, James revamped the UAM baseball program, from changes to Weevils Field to a new-look roster. Additional changes came in 2010, when James brought in close to 20 new players, including 10 players from the high school ranks.
In 2010, James led UAM to its first ever ranking in the National College Baseball Writer’s Association South Region Poll with a No. 9 ranking on March 1.
He also led the team to its first series win since 2006 and its first conference sweep since 2005. The Boll Weevils also had an eight-game win streak in 2010 and more than doubled their win total from the 2009 season.
James coached two GSC-West Player of the Week selections and one pitcher of the week honoree in 2010. Senior outfielder Brian Johnson became UAM’s first honoree since 2005. Johnson went on to earn All-GSC West 2nd Team honors, one of four players to earn all-conference honors under James’ watch. Pitcher Brent Noble and outfielder Wayne Hawkins also earned weekly honors during the 2010 season. In 2009, James led the Weevils to one of the biggest upsets in recent program history, defeating the then ranked No. North Alabama Lions at home 4-3.
Later in the season, James’ Weevils had their way with West Alabama, a perennial winner, defeating the Tigers 9-3 at home.
Prior to joining the UAM staff, James was the manager of the Arkansas Prospects of Little Rock and the APAK Scout Team of Memphis, traveling baseball squads that showcase prospects to college coaches and major league scouts. He was also an associate scout with the Seattle Mariners organization. James served as an assistant head coach at UAPB from 2000-04 and head coach of the Pine Bluff Senior Babe Ruth Team in 2004-05.
The Oakland Athletics drafted James out of Pine Bluff High School in 1990. He played two seasons at Seminole Junior College where his teams played in the NJCAA World Series in 1991 and 1992. After being drafted by the Oakland Athletics again, he transferred and played two seasons at the University of Arkansas followed by two seasons with the now-defunct Pine Bluff Locomotives in the independent Big South League in 1995-96.