Oklahoma State University's Rob Walton has been named 2016 ABCA/Baseball America Assistant Coach of the Year. The award will be presented by Baseball America during the ABCA Honors Luncheon presented by Diamond Kinetics on Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017 during the ABCA Convention in Anaheim.
See also: Baseball America Feature Article
A former OSU standout, Walton returned to Stillwater in June 2012 as pitching coach. His tutelage has been a significant key to Oklahoma State's resurgence, with his pitching staffs a key force behind a four-year run that includes a College World Series berth, four NCAA Regional appearances, two Super Regionals and a Big 12 Conference championship.
The 2016 season saw Oklahoma State return to the College World Series for the first time since 1999. Led by ABCA/Rawlings All-American Thomas Hatch, the Cowboys racked up 10 shutouts, 574 strikeouts and 21 saves, all of which ranked as the second-highest totals in program history. Seven players from OSU's 2016 pitching staff were drafted to Major League Baseball teams, with Hatch's third-round selection leading the way.
In the postseason, the Cowboys turned in a 1.58 ERA in their nine NCAA Tournament games. At the College World Series, where OSU finished third, the Cowboys opened play with consecutive 1-0 wins, marking the first time in history a team recorded back-to-back 1-0 shutouts at the CWS.
The Cowboys' success under Walton includes 16 All-Big 12 pitchers, three first-team All-Americans, two Big 12 Pitcher of the Year honorees and a first-round Major League Baseball Draft pick.
Prior to returning to Stillwater, Walton spent the previous 14 years at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, where he was the Golden Eagles' head coach for nine seasons. Under his direction, the Golden Eagles were an NCAA Tournament team each year and produced five seasons with 40 or more wins, including a 50-win campaign in 2004.
In his nine seasons at the helm of Oral Roberts, Walton compiled a 367-167 (.687) record and was named the Summit League Coach of the Year five times. During Walton's tenure, ORU continued its record streak of conference championships, which reached 15 in 2012. With Walton as head coach, the Golden Eagles made nine NCAA Regional appearances and reached a Super Regional in 2006.
In his 14 total seasons at Oral Roberts, Walton helped produce 16 All-Americans, 14 conference players or co-players of the year and 12 conference pitchers of the year. Additionally, the Golden Eagles had 45 players selected in the Major League Baseball Draft over that span.
Past ABCA/Baseball America
Assistant Coaches of the Year
2015 - Brad Bohannon, Kentucky
2014 - Butch Thompson, Mississippi State
2013 - Chris Lemonis & Roger Williams, Louisville
2012 - Mike Birkbeck, Kent State
2011 - Chad Holbrook, South Carolina
2010 - Derek Johnson, Vanderbilt
2009 - Kevin McMullen, Virginia
2008 - Rob Fornasiere, Minnesota
2007 - Fritz Hamburg, Army
2006 - Mitch Thompson, Baylor
2005 - Bob Wojick, Eastern Connecticut State
2004 - Dave Serrano, Cal State Fullerton
2003 - Jim Lawler, Texas A&M
2002 - Jim Toman, South Carolina
2001 - Brian O'Connor, Notre Dame
2000 - Tim Corbin, Clemson
1999 - Dean Stotz, Stanford