Thompson Joins Missouri State Baseball Staff
July 3, 2014
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - Missouri State University head baseball coach Keith Guttin announced today that Nate Thompson will join the Bears coaching staff for the 2015 season. Thompson, currently an assistant coach at Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College, will begin his new role as MSU's lead hitting instructor and recruiting coordinator on July 7.
Thompson's hiring fills the vacancy left by the retirement of Brent Thomas after 32 years of continuous service on the Bears' staff. He joins assistant (pitching) coach Paul Evans on MSU's full-time staff for the 2015 campaign, which will mark Guttin's 33rd year as the Bears' bench boss.
Thompson joins the Bears after serving as Hutchinson's primary hitting coach since 2011, over which time he helped lead the Blue Dragons to a pair of KJCCC West regular-season titles and two of the top five win totals in program history. This past spring Hutchinson broke 17 team or individual school records during a 43-17 campaign that saw it rank among the NJCAA's top 20 nationally in 14 offensive statistical categories. In 2014 alone, Thompson helped mentor outfielder Matt Jones, a 25th round selection of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 2014 MLB Draft, Jayhawk West Most Valuable Player Jake Schleppenbach and national pitcher of the year Kyle Simonds, who became the first player in Hutchinson history to earn first-team All-America recognition.
Over his four-year stint as an assistant coach in Hutchinson, Thompson helped steer a program that averaged 35 wins per season while posting a .613 winning percentage and producing 23 All-Jayhawk West Division selections, eight of which went on to earn NJCAA All-Region VI honors. In 2012, the Blue Dragons logged a 40-17 ledger, including a Jayhawk West Division crown with a 23-9 conference mark. Led by second-team All-American Tanner Lubach, seven Blue Dragons earned all-conference honors that season, with four players signing to continue their careers at the Division I level.
Thompson spent three seasons at Nebraska as the Cornhuskers' volunteer assistant prior to his arrival in Hutchinson. In that capacity, he instructed the Husker outfielders and assisted with the infield group, playing key roles in the development of 2008 All-Big 12 performers and MLB draftees Jake Opitz (12th round, Chicago Cubs) and Mitch Abeita (19th round, New York Yankees), who helped Nebraska log an impressive 41-16-1 campaign and earn the right to host an NCAA Regional in Lincoln. The following spring, Thompson once again played a pivotal role in helping one of his pupils reach the next level, as Jeff Tezak was taken in the 24th round of the MLB Draft by the Chicago White Sox.
Following the completion of his own collegiate playing career at Dallas Baptist, Thompson began his coaching career as a student assistant with the Patriots. A two-year letterwinner in the DBU outfield, Thompson helped the Patriots claim the 2004 NCCAA national championship after turning in a standout two-year career at Garden City (Kan.) Community College. He was a key figure on the Busters' 2003 Jayhawk West Division championship team, earning NJCCAA Distinguished Academic All-America honors.
During the 2006 season, Thompson aided a Dallas Baptist coaching staff that included current Patriots head coach Dan Heefner, working with the DBU outfielders while assisting with hitting instruction and the implementation of the club's strength and conditioning program. The Patriots recorded a .329 team batting mark en route to a 33-23 season and saw a school-record seven players taken in the MLB Draft. From there, Thompson moved into a graduate assistant role at Fort Hays (Kan.) State, where he served as the Tigers' primary hitting and outfield coach during the 2007 campaign. A pair of Tigers earned ABCA All-Central Region recognition under Thompson's tutelage as Fort Hays State finished with a 33-20 overall record.
Additionally, Thompson gained experience during the summer of 2007 as an assistant coach with the Mat-Su Miners of the Alaska Baseball League, where he was nominated for the league's assistant of the year honor. Thompson also served as director of Nebraska's summer baseball camps from 2008-10, overseeing program development and personnel while assisting with the instruction and skill development phases of the camps.
A native of Goodland, Kan., Thompson graduated cum laude with his bachelor's degree in kinesiology from Dallas Baptist in 2006 and earned a master's degree in sports administration at Fort Hays State in 2008. He married the former Anna Schardt in 2009.
Thompson's hire is pending formal approval by the Missouri State Board of Governors at its next regularly-scheduled meeting.