Strain comes to SIU after a three-year stint as an assistant coach at Northern Colorado. His main responsibilities with the Salukis include coaching hitting and infield defense while also assisting with all recruiting efforts and day-to-day operations of the program.
“Because of the timing, we are very fortunate to find and hire someone with Ryan’s knowledge,” Henderson said. “He comes from a good baseball background and I am confident that he will fit in well with what we are trying to accomplish.”
“I am very appreciative of this opportunity,” Strain said. “It is a honor to be added to a coaching staff in the middle of the year that is so close and has gone through so much and I want to thank coach Henderson, coach Finigan and Mario Moccia for this opportunity.
“I hope I can help this program compete for a Missouri Valley Conference Championship this year. I understand that there is a great tradition here at SIU and I’m excited to be apart of it.”
Strain has a proven track record of success. While at Northern Colorado, the Bears broke 28 school records under his belt. Last season, Strain led the UNC offense that set new school records in runs scored (510), hits (740), doubles (142), home runs (80) and runs driven in (478). Northern Colorado also turned a school record 62 double plays in 2010 under his guidance.
Northern Colorado finished the 2010 season with a 34-24 overall record and a 22-6 mark in the Great West Conference.
Strain was instrumental in leading utility player Mark Shannon to freshman All-America honors, as Shannon became the first freshman All-American in Northern Colorado history. Shannon hit .326 on the year and was the GWC Newcomer of the Year.
Prior to his time at Northern Colorado, Strain spent the 2006 and 2007 seasons on the Nebraska coaching staff. While with the Huskers, he assisted the coaching staff with on-field duties, including helping with batting practice, while overseeing the undergraduate managers and helping with team video. He also assisted in on-campus recruiting and helped in the day-to-day operations of the program.
In the summer of 2006, Strain was an assistant coach for the St. Cloud Riverbats in the Northwoods League. There he served as the hitting and infield coach, helping St. Cloud lead the Northwoods League in hitting during the 2006 campaign.
Strain began his career playing at North Carolina State before transferring to Nevada. Following his collegiate career, Strain played two seasons in the minors for the San Francisco Giants and one year for the Rockford Riverhawks in the independent professional Frontier League.
His father, Joe, played in the Major Leagues with the San Francisco Giants and Chicago Cubs.
The Salukis are currently preparing for the 2011 season that begins on Feb. 18 when Southern participates in the Louisiana Tech tournament on opening weekend.