Jeff Mercer, Wright State Raiders

1

Jeff Mercer is in his first season as head coach of the Wright State Raiders. He became the first former Raider player to become head coach of the Wright State program last summer when previous head coach Greg Lovelady left to lead the University of Central Florida Golden Knights. A native of Indiana whose father was a hitting coach, Mercer was a walk-on at the University of Dayton prior to transferring to Wright State prior to the start of his junior year of college. He emerged as one of the top hitters on the team and in his conference and was named the 2009 Horizon League Player of the Year. He entered the coaching ranks as a graduate assistant at Ohio Northern University before serving as a volunteer assistant at Western Kentucky and Michigan. In 2013 he returned to Wright State as an assistant coach under Lovelady and also served as the Raiders’ recruiting coordinator. As he mentions in the podcast, Mercer began recruiting athletes who may not be polished baseball players but have the desire to become better at the diamond game and develop into professional prospects. Inside of getting run off the field every time they headed south or west, the Raiders began to hold their own against schools from warm-weather states and emerged as one of the top Northern-based programs at the Division I level. The Raiders opened the 2017 season with 12 straight road games, which included visits to Clemson University and the University of South Carolina, both of which were ranked in the top 10. The Raiders emerged from those six games with a 3-3 record, including victories on both Sunday contests. Having advanced to the NCAA Tournament last year, the Raiders have high expectations of repeating that accomplishment in 2017 and feel they have the talent to make a serious run at the College World Series in Omaha.

About the author, Bill

Bill Ballew has been involved with collegiate and professional baseball since 1983. He has been the Atlanta correspondent for Baseball America since 1991 and has served as the editorial content manager for Baseball The Magazine for more than five years. He is a member of the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA), National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) and the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR).