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Mizzou tabs Steve Bieser as head baseball coach

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Mizzou will usher in a new era of baseball as Steve Bieser has been tabbed as the next head coach, announced Thursday by Director of Athletics Mack Rhoades. Bieser (pronounced: Bee-zer) will be Mizzou's 14th head coach and just the fourth since 1937. Bieser comes to Mizzou after an extremely successful career at Southeast Missouri, where he became the only coach ever to win three consecutive Ohio Valley Conference Championships and guided the Redhawks to their first NCAA Regional last year since 2002.

A two-time OVC Coach of the Year, Bieser won 35 or more games in each of his last three seasons at SEMO, a feat that had been accomplished just once before he took over the program in 2013. Bieser turned in a .587 winning percentage in his time at SEMO, the best among any coach in program history.

Bieser turned in a banner year in 2016, as he earned his 100th career victory and opened OVC play with a perfect 12-0 record, the best start in program history. The season culminated in a regular season OVC Championship, an OVC Tournament title and the school's first NCAA Regional since 2002, qualifying for the Starkville Regional at SEC Champion Mississippi State.

Bieser will be presented publicly in a press conference set for 11 a.m. Friday morning on top of the McArtor Baseball Facility at Taylor Stadium.

"Steve Bieser is a rising star in the college baseball ranks and a proven winner," Director of Athletics Mack Rhoades said. "He has an impressive track-record of success, winning championships at each stop in his coaching career. He will be a tremendous role model for our student-athletes and has demonstrated a unique ability to develop his players athletically, academically and socially beyond what they believed they could achieve. He boasts remarkable intellectual horsepower and has a very cerebral approach to the game of baseball. He is a relationship-builder and will be a great fit for Mizzou. We are excited to welcome Steve, his wife Diahann and their children, Cole, Whitley, Briley and Carley to the Mizzou family."

Prior to serving as SEMO's head coach beginning in 2013, Bieser was the pitching coach for his alma mater from 2011-12 and he carried his prowess for developing hurlers into his head coaching tenure. His most notable pupil was LHP Joey Lucchesi, who became the only pitcher to ever win OVC Pitcher of the Year in back-to-back season. Lucchesi shattered the Southeast Missouri and Ohio Valley single-season strikeout records while also consistently leading the nation in 2016 in the category. He became the first Southeast pitcher to win 10 games in 13 years. He was on the watch lists for the prestigious Golden Spike Award, as well as the College Baseball Hall of Fame's National Pitcher of the Year award.

Following the season, Lucchesi became the highest draft pick ever out of Southeast Missouri when he was selected in the fourth round (114th overall pick) by the San Diego Padres. He was one of two Redhawks drafted in 2016, marking the first time since 2012 that Southeast had multiple draft picks.

"I am truly honored and humbled to have the opportunity to be a part of the University of Missouri community and serve as the head baseball coach," Bieser said. "I can't express enough the gratitude I have for Interim Chancellor Foley, Athletic Director Mack Rhoades and the search committee for having the confidence in me to lead this program. When I started my coaching career, I had always dreamed of the opportunity to lead this program. There is a strong tradition and rich history of Missouri Tiger baseball. I understand the responsibility and I am fully committed and ready to continue building the tradition. As life-long Missourians, my family and I feel truly blessed to be part of the University of Missouri and the Columbia community."

Aside from success on the field, academic success was a hallmark of Bieser's program at SEMO. He mentored three Academic All-Americans, 10 Academic All-District picks, one OVC Scholar-Athlete, six OVC Medal of Honor recipients and 48 OVC Commissioner's Honor Roll selections. SEMO had at least a 3.0 cumulative grade-point-average in all four years under Bieser, grabbing one OVC Team Academic Award along the way.

After a successful playing career at SEMO, Bieser was drafted in the 32nd round of the 1989 MLB Draft by the Philadelphia Phillies. He played 13 years as a professional with nine of those years coming at AAA or higher. He made his Major League debut on April 1, 1997, with the New York Mets and played 60 career MLB games between the Mets and the Pittsburgh Pirates, compiling a .250 career average and a .351 career on-base percentage. Bieser made his Major League debut as a catcher, but his versatility led him to play a variety of positions over his career. He closed out his professional career with Memphis (AAA), where he guided the Redbirds to a AAA World Series in 2000. He played every position on the field during his professional career.

Bieser, a native of Saint Genevieve, Mo., went to Southeast after a very successful campaign as head coach at St. John Vianney High School in Kirkwood, Mo. In seven seasons leading the Griffins, his team won two state championships in 2004 and 2006. He compiled a record of 137-51.

Bieser and his wife, Diahann, have a son Cole and three daughters, Whitley, Briley and Carley.