FROM CBD NEWS SOURCE
LEWISBURG, Pa. – Following a comprehensive national search, Bucknell director of athletics and recreation John Hardt announced on Monday that Scott Heather will succeed the retiring Gene Depew as the head coach of the Bison baseball program. Heather has spent the last eight years as an assistant coach at Bucknell, helping the Bison to a pair of Patriot League Tournament titles and NCAA appearances.
A former pitcher at the University of Arkansas, Heather has served as the pitching coach throughout his tenure at Bucknell. Under his direction, the Bison pitching staff has posted an ERA of under 4.50 on three occasions. The staff had a 4.30 ERA in 2006, marking the team’s lowest since 1983 (4.10), and it ranked fourth in the Patriot League with a solid 4.65 ERA this past spring.
During his tenure, Heather has tutored a number of outstanding pitchers, including 2011 Patriot League Pitcher of the Year Ryan Ebner. Additionally, Heather oversaw the development of 2008 graduates Jason Buursma and Mathew Wilson. Those two former Bison claimed back-to-back Patriot League ERA titles, while Buursma earned a pair of First Team All-Patriot League selections as a relief pitcher. Wilson, who was the 2007 Patriot League ERA champion, broke the school record for career shutouts and pitched a complete-game shutout against nationally ranked Florida State in the 2008 NCAA Tournament.
“Throughout the last eight years Scott has done a great job making a positive contribution and impact in all phases of the program. Even more importantly, he has demonstrated that he is ready to assume the head-coaching responsibilities and lead the program,” said Hardt. “We had a deep and talented pool of candidates from across the country, which speaks to the reputation of the Bucknell baseball program. Not only does Scott have knowledge of the inner workings of Bucknell and familiarity with our student-athletes, but, after working alongside Coach Depew since 2004, he also has a clear plan for the future and building on the baseball program’s solid foundation of success.”
“I want to thank John Hardt and the administration for this opportunity, and I am deeply humbled to accept the head baseball coach position,” said Heather, who has been in the dugout for nearly 200 Bison victories. “I have enjoyed my eight years here learning from Gene Depew, and I am honored to follow him and build on all the success he had. Gene has been ¯ and always will be ¯ a coach, mentor and friend to me. The support I have received from many players, alumni and parents has been overwhelming and I look forward to working hard to add new chapters to Bucknell Baseball’s storied history.
“I am excited for the chance to continue to work with the outstanding student-athletes in our program and can’t wait for them to return to school so we can work toward competing for a Patriot League Championship in 2013.”
Heather has had the opportunity to see Bison pitchers selected in three Major League Baseball Drafts since his arrival in Lewisburg in August 2004. Buursma was drafted in 2007 (42nd round by Seattle Mariners) and 2008 (25th round by St. Louis Cardinals), while Kyle Walter was selected in the 18th round of the 2006 draft by the Toronto Blue Jays.
In addition to his duties with the Bucknell pitching staff, Heather has served as the program’s recruiting coordinator and has assisted with all fundraising projects during his time with the Bison.
Prior to his stint as an assistant at Bucknell, Heather served as an assistant coach at Arkansas-Fort Smith from 1999 to 2004.
Heather began his playing career at Arizona Western College in Yuma, Ariz., where he was MVP of the 1996 team that was ranked third nationally, before moving on to Arkansas. Heather lettered for the Razorbacks as a pitcher in 1997 and 1998, and then became a student assistant in 1999 when Arkansas won its first Southeastern Conference championship. He also pitched professionally for the Duluth Dukes of the Northern League in 1998.
Heather and his wife, Emily, live in nearby Mifflinburg with their two-year-old daughter, Ellie.