Tod Brown, North Dakota State Bison

North Dakota State Bison

Tod Brown enters his 11th season as the North Dakota State Bison head baseball coach. Brown has a record of 247-273 (.475) in 10 seasons in the dugout for the Bison, including a 172-153 (.529) tally the last six seasons.

He came to NDSU in 2007 with a comprehensive plan for everything from jerseys and equipment to travel accommodations and budgeting, and has put the Bison on a long-term track for success.

Tod Brown

Athletic Achievements at North Dakota State:
Brown helped guide the North Dakota State Bison to their first-ever Summit League baseball championship in 2014 and their first appearance in the NCAA Division I Baseball Tournament since 1956.

Under Brown’s leadership, NDSU has played in four Summit League championship games and qualified for the league’s baseball championship six out of the last seven years.

He has coached an impressive 25 All-Summit League selections while at North Dakota State. The Bison had a school-record-matching seven all-league honorees in 2014, including Tim Colwell, who was voted the 2014 Summit League Player of the Year and garnered first team all-league accolades for the third straight season. Colwell was also selected as a second team Senior CLASS Award All-American.

Last season, the North Dakota State Bison compiled a 31-25 overall record and a set a program-record for Summit League victories with 19 wins. The 31 victories tied for the fourth-most in program history and marked the fifth time in program history NDSU had won at least 30 contests. The 2017 Bison established new program records for double plays (53) and shutouts (7). In addition, senior right-handed pitcher Luke Lind tied the single-season record for strikeouts with 92, while junior outfielder Logan Busch set a new single-season record for walks at 34. Five NDSU baseball student-athletes were named All-Summit League, including Busch, who was named first team all-league. Lind and fellow seniors Reed Pfannenstein, Ben Petersen and JT Core were tabbed second team all-league. NDSU advanced to The Summit League Baseball Championship game for the fourth time in six years and, for the second straight season, won two of three games in Fargo against Summit League regular season and tournament champion Oral Roberts. The Bison were the only Summit League team to win a series against ORU in 2017.

In 2016, the Bison posted a 29-25 overall record and set a new record for home wins at Newman Outdoor Field with 17 victories. In addition, North Dakota State set new single-season records for strikeouts (405) and saves (17).  NDSU defeated No. 19-ranked Minnesota on April 26 in Fargo, marking the second-ever win over an NCAA Division I top-25 opponent. The Bison also won two of three games at home against Summit League regular season champion Oral Roberts April 29 through May 1, representing the first-ever series win over the Golden Eagles for the Bison.

The North Dakota State Bison won a school-record 40 games during the 2012 season, including an 8-2 win over a No. 5-ranked Arizona team that went on to win the 2012 College World Series. North Dakota State had a school-record .973 fielding percentage and posted a team ERA of 3.38, which was the program’s lowest ERA in 37 years. That season also saw a school-record seven Bison receive All-Summit League honors with Colwell and John Straka receiving first team accolades.

Academic Achievements at North Dakota State:
The North Dakota State Bison has been a consistent winner in the classroom under Brown. Bison baseball routinely posts an average 3.0 team GPA and has had four players combine for eight CoSIDA/Capital One Academic All-America® awards, including Tim Colwell, who was named the 2014 CoSIDA/Capital One Academic All-America® Athlete of the Year for Division I Baseball and earned first-team Academic All-America® honors for the third straight season. He was also named The Summit League Male Scholar Athlete of the Year.

Under Brown’s leadership, North Dakota State has had three student-athletes earn prestigious NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships, while two Bison baseball teams (2014, 2015) have earned NCAA Public Recognition Awards. The 2015 NDSU baseball team was also awarded a Summit League Team Academic Award for its performance in the classroom.

During the 2012-13 and 2015-16 academic years, the Bison posted perfect NCAA Academic Progress Rate (APR) scores of 1,000.

Bison in the Pros:
Brown has coached 21 members of the North Dakota State Bison baseball program who have signed professional contracts, including pitchers Luke Lind, who signed a minor league contract with the Los Angeles Angels in 2017, Jay Flaa, who was drafted in the sixth round of the 2015 MLB Draft by the Baltimore Orioles, and John Straka, who was drafted in the 32nd round of the 2013 MLB Draft by the Texas Rangers. He also coached catcher Juan Gamez, who was drafted in the 31st round of the 2016 MLB Draft by the Minnesota Twins. Seventeen other Bison have played professionally in several independent leagues around the country.

Past Coaching Experience:
Brown, who was a left-handed pitcher for the Arizona Wildcats, has made a career out of coaching college ball in the northern tier of the country. He came to NDSU after eight seasons in Ohio as the pitching coach and recruiting coordinator for Bowling Green State University.

He has recruited or helped develop eight players who have reached the major leagues, including shortstop J.J. Hardy and pitchers Jamie Vermilyea and Tim Wood from Sabino High School, in Tucson, Ariz., outfielder Shelley Duncan and pitchers Josh Pearce and Ben Diggins at the University of Arizona, and pitcher Burke Badenhop and outfielder Nolan Reimold from Bowling Green.

After two years as the pitching coach at Sabino High School in Tucson, Ariz., Brown began his collegiate coaching career in 1999 as a volunteer assistant for Arizona. He worked with pitchers and catchers and was the first-base coach for the Wildcats, who qualified for an NCAA regional.

Brown was head coach of the San Francisco Seals of the California Coastal Collegiate League in the summer of 1999, compiling a 43-29 record and making a fourth-place finish in the National Baseball Congress World Series.

Playing Experience:
Brown played for College Baseball Hall of Fame coach Jerry Kindall at Arizona, where he was a member of the 1992 Pac-10 championship team. In 1993, Brown won six games and had eight saves while setting Arizona’s single-season record with 35 appearances. He was named to the All-Midwest Regional team as the Wildcats fell one run shy of a College World Series appearance.

Brown spent two summers playing for the Grand Lake Mariners of the Great Lakes Collegiate League (1991-92) and another summer with the Harwich Mariners of the Cape Cod League (1993). He began playing professional baseball in 1994 for the Brainerd Bears in the North Central League before signing a free-agent contract with the Cleveland Indians. He was released in spring training after a career-ending injury.

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).