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FIU Hires Drew French as New Pitching Coach

MIAMI – After spending the past four years at the University of Alabama, Drew French has been hired as FIU baseball’s newest pitching coach, announced on Wednesday by Head Coach Turtle Thomas.

“We’re very happy and pleased to have hired a great young assistant pitching coach in Drew French,” Thomas said of his new hire. “He comes very highly recommended from many great current and former college baseball coaches. He’s going to do a tremendous job with our pitching staff and we couldn’t be happier to have him as part of our baseball program.”

Prior to joining FIU, French worked with the Tide pitching staff, overseeing the bullpen sessions and strength and conditioning programs for his pitchers, gathering scouting reports, hosting pitching camps and clinics and even throwing batting practice prior to the games. In his four years at Alabama, he saw 12 of his pitchers drafted in MLB Amateur Draft, while coaching an All-American and numerous All-SEC selections. His squads appeared in four NCAA Regionals, four SEC Tournaments and were one win away from reaching The College World Series in Omaha in 2010 at the Clemson Super Regional.

“Drew did a great job with me during my final years as head coach at Alabama,” the winningest head coach in Alabama history, Jim Wells, said of French. “He brings a tremendous amount of pitching and coaching knowledge to the table and I know he can get the job done down there at FIU.”

During his time with the pitching staff, French tutored the likes of Jimmy Nelson, who went in the 2nd round to the Milwaukee Brewers in the 2010 MLB Amateur Draft and Adam Morgan to the Philadelphia Phillies in the 3rd round of the 2011 draft.

“I’m real excited about this opportunity for Drew. He’s as knowledgeable of a young coach as you’re going to find in the business,” Dax Norris, current assistant coach and former colleague at Alabama said. “He was my right-hand man the past couple of years and I know he’s going to do a tremendous job at FIU.”

French also mentored current Detroit Tigers All-Star catcher Alex Avila on how to handle a pitching staff. He taught Avila the importance of calling pitches and pitch-selection. He also helped the young superstar catcher form scouting reports on his opposing hitters and chart his own pitching staff.

“FIU got themselves a heck of a coach in Drew French,” former legendary University of Texas Head Coach Cliff Gustafson said. “He’s one of the premier young pitching coaches in the game and will be a great asset to the program.”

During the summer of 2009, French served as the pitching coach for the North Fork Osprey of Long Island, N.Y. His responsibilities while with the team included running the day-to-day operations of the pitching staff including strength and conditioning and player development. With French’s help, the Osprey’s captured the Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League’s Kaiser Division regular season championship with a 25-14 overall record. His pitching staff ranked in the top-five in the league in ERA, strikeouts and opponent batting average.

As a player at Concordia University, French was named a three-time Academic All-Southwestern Conference selection and earned the Dawnna Dukes Leadership Award while being named to the Texas State Representative for academics. He graduated in 2006 with a degree in marketing and management, sporting a 3.5 GPA for his college career.

A 2002 graduate of Stephen F. Austin High School in Austin, Texas, French was a two-time all-district pitcher and outfielder. His efforts helped propel the school to a runner-up finish in the Class 5A state playoffs in 2001.

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