Andy Sawyers enters his fifth year as Southeast Missouri’s head baseball coach.
SEMO had an overall record of 9-8 and a 2-1 mark in Ohio Valley Conference play when its 2020 season was abrubtly cut short due to a global COVID-19 pandemic. The Redhawks heated up to win seven of nine contests prior to the end of competition.
The Redhawks led the OVC in batting average (.314), hits (188), triples (9), plate appearances (707), at-bats (598), hit by pitch (26), stolen bases (36), fewest walks allowed (54) and fielding percentage (.976), and rated second in slugging percentage (.503), on-base percentage (.404), runs (129), RBI (121) and home runs (21) at the time their 2020 campaign came to a close. SEMO also ranked among the top 10 teams in the nation in hits (6th) and triples (8th).
Twenty returnees are back for Sawyers to mentor again this spring as the Redhawks return over 60 percent of last year’s roster.
None of those players lost any eligibility after the COVID-19 pandemic influenced the NCAA Division I Council’s decision to allow schools to provide spring-sport student-athletes an additional season of competition and an extension on their period of eligibility.
Before they took the field last spring, the Redhawks ushered in a state-of-the-art hitting facility adjacent to Capaha Field. The 4,000-square foot facility can fit up to four batting cages and is equipped with portable pitching mounds. It also had HitTrax Rapsodo technology which is used to enhance overall player performance through real-tiem stats and performance metrics.
In Sawyers' last full season of competition, SEMO went 23-32 during an injury-riddled 2019 campaign. The Redhawks played without five of their position starters for much of the season.
Sawyers was hired as the sixth head coach in program history on July 29, 2016.
In his first year as an NCAA Division I head coach in 2017, Sawyers led the Redhawks to a winning season (29-26 overall, 16-14 OVC). He also picked up his first career OVC Tournament win along the way.
In all, Sawyers has two decades worth of collegiate coaching experience.
Prior to arriving in Cape Girardeau, he worked two seasons as the Associate Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator at Big 12 Conference member Kansas State. There, Sawyers oversaw the hitters and catchers, while helping coordinate recruiting efforts.
Sawyers has coached in two College World Series, two NCAA Super Regionals and eight NCAA Tournaments during his coaching tenure. He has mentored 39 Major League Baseball draft picks, including two first-round selections and eight top-10 round picks.
Sawyers’ coaching career began at Northwestern (La.) State in 1999 as a volunteer assistant coach, helping the Demons finish second in the Southland Conference.
He first played collegiately at Point Loma (Calif.) Nazarene College in 1994. Following a year off, he played at Mendocino (Calif.) Junior College in 1996 before finishing up his playing career at Nebraska.
A native of Willits, California, Sawyers received his bachelor (1998) and master’s (2000) degrees from Nebraska. He is married to the former Dena Lindeblad and the couple have two sons, Andrew James (A.J.) and Alex.
Former Southeast Missouri baseball great Trevor Ezell joins the Redhawks staff as Director of Offensive Player Development.
Ezell will handle various administrative duties and assist with stat compilation, analytical breakdown, video analysis and scouting.
A native of Bryant, Arkansas, Ezell returns to Cape Girardeau following a two-year stint in Minor League Baseball. He was signed by the Tampa Bay Rays during the summer of 2019 after making a trip to the College World Series at the University of Arkansas.
Ezell wrapped up his college career with the Razorbacks after spending four years at SEMO. He earned both First-Team and Second-Team All-Ohio Valley Conference honors. Ezell started 181 games and accumulated 251 hits, 194 runs, 128 RBI, 48 stolen bases and 45 doubles in his career. He also hit .336, boasted a .495 slugging percentage and held a .967 fielding percentage during his time as a Redhawk.
In his final college season, Ezell hit .329 with a team-high 25 doubles and 72 runs scored en route to Second-Team All-SEC and SEC All-Defensive Team accolades at Arkansas in 2019. His 72 runs also ranked fourth in the SEC and 11th in the nation. Additionally, Ezell was the Razorbacks top hitter in the 2019 NCAA Tournament hitting .459 with 17 hits, six doubles, two home runs and eight RBI in eight contests.
Dan McKinney was hired as Southeast Missouri's pitching coach on Aug. 26, 2021.
A native of Bowling Green, Ohio, McKinney spent the last season at Oakland University. Prior to that, he worked two years as the pitching coach at the University of Akron.
McKinney's pitching staff at Akron finished fourth among Mid-American Conference teams in walks allowed per nine innings and opposing batting averaged during a shortened 2020 season.
Before Akron, McKinney served as the volunteer assistant and assistant pitching coach at Miami (Ohio) in 2018.
During the 2017 and 2018 seasons, McKinney was the pitching coach and recruiting coordinator at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. His pitching staff led the conference in team ERA two years in a row and helped Kirkwood make its first National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) World Series appearance since 1999. Fifteen pitchers moved on to NCAA Division I programs under McKinney.'
McKinney also worked as pitching coach with the Prospect League's Kokomo Jackrabbits in the summer of 2018. Kokomo secured the regular-season title and East Division Playoff Championship that year. His pitching staff posted a 3.83 ERA, which decreased from a 6.03 mark the previous summer. One of McKinney's pitchers was named a First-Team Summer Collegiate All-American by Perfect Game, while two other pitchers were named to the Prospect League Top Prospect List by Perfect Game.
He attended the University of Michigan on a baseball scholarship and earned his bachelor's degree in Political Science.