9-year Hawkeye assistant takes over as Leathernecks head coach
Former Hawkeye Dusty Napolean is finishing his degree while working with the UI baseball team
Hawkeyes and Boilermakers open series Thursday night at Duane Banks Field
Hawkeyes and Spartans open set Friday at 2:05 p.m. in East Lansing, Mich.
Hawkeyes and Wolverines open series Friday night at 6:05 p.m.
South Dakota State at Iowa Wednesday, April 4, 2012
One of the longest tenured assistant coaches at the University of Iowa and for Big Ten baseball, Ryan Brownlee, is in his 10th season as Iowa's hitting, infield instructor and recruiting coordinator in 2013.
"We are very fortunate to have Ryan on the coaching staff here at Iowa," said head coach Jack Dahm. "Ryan has proven over the past nine years that he is one of the top coaches in the country with his relentless work ethic on and off the field. Ryan grew up around the game of baseball and understands the commitment it takes to build a championship program. As our recruiting coordinator he continues to bring in some of the best classes in the country. Additionally, I have been very impressed with our hitters and infielders' development under Ryan."
Over the past 12 seasons, Brownlee has had 32 players he coached or recruited drafted; two more signed free agent contracts. In the past four years, Kurtis Muller, Patrick Schatz, Steve Turnbull, Kyle Heim, Mike Schurz, Matt Dermody, Mike McQuillan and recruits Dan Sheppard, Patrick Lala, Taylor Zeutenhorst, Derrick Loveless, Sasha Kuebel, Nick Hibbing, Blake Hickman and Ryan Borucki were drafted by major league teams. In six years of coaching summer collegiate leagues, he has seen 33 of his players sign pro contracts, including Khalil Green of the Padres and Kevin Cash of the Yankees, Joe Thatcher of the Padres, Dan Meyer of the Marlins and Luke Scott of the Astros.
Brownlee has also watched his student-athletes excel in the classroom. An average of nine Hawkeyes each season, have been named Academic All-Big Ten during his Hawkeye coaching tenure. In 2011, a team-record 12 Hawkeyes earned the distinction.
Three Hawkeyes (Phil Keppler, Sasha Kuebel, Taylor Kaufman) garnered all-league honors in 2012. Senior outfielder Phil Keppler earned second team All-Big Ten laurels after hitting .345. While 11 freshmen saw action, Brownlee coached senior Mike McQuillan to the top of the record books. McQuillan closed his career first in singles (196) and second in hits (242). He hit .330 or above in all four seasons under Brownlee, ending his career as a .345 hitter. McQuillan owned an on base percentage of (.489) in 2012, which led the Big Ten and ranked 11th nationally. The infielder was drafted by the Washington Nationals in the 2012 MLB Draft.
In 2011, Brownlee coached Trevor Willis and Tyson Blaser to third team all-conference honors and helped freshman outfielder Taylor Zeutenhorst earn Big Ten All-Freshman accolades. Blaser led the Hawkeyes and tied for second in the Big Ten with 18 doubles, which ties for the fourth most in a single season in Iowa history. Additionally, Willis led the league and ranked second nationally with a career-high nine triples, which established a new school single-season record.
In 2010, the hitting coach preached a `pitch-by-pitch' approach at the plate that helped propel the Hawkeyes to 11 wins in their final 14 contests; the team eventually finished 30-28. Iowa finished third in the conference and ultimately placing second at the Big Ten Tournament. The tournament berth was the eighth in school history. The Hawkeyes won three games at the tournament, which was the first time an Iowa team had won since 1990. The runner-up finish in the conference tournament tied the school's highest finish, which was accomplished once before (1983).
Brownlee guided Muller to second team all-conference honors, as well as Zach McCool to third team and Mike Corbeil to the all-freshman squad. Muller also made the Big Ten All-Tournament squad. The hitting and infield instructor helped mentor Iowa to a stronger defensive showing in 2010. The Hawkeyes also boasted more hits, doubles, triples, home runs, RBI, sacrifice flies, sacrifice bunts and walks than the previous year. Additionally, Iowa ranked among the national leaders in stolen bases, triples and sacrifice hits.
On the heels of the 2010 success, the Hawkeyes' 2011 recruiting class was once again rated the best in the Big Ten by Perfect Game. The class was ranked fourth-best in the Midwest and 48th-best nationally. Brownlee helped secure another highly-ranked recruiting class for 2012. Iowa's class was ranked 45th-best nationally and third in the Big Ten by Perfect Game.
Under his guidance, the Hawkeyes broke the single-season record for hit-by-pitch four consecutive seasons (2005-08). Furthermore, they broke the school record for sacrifice hits in four of the last five years and also established a sacrifice flies record (33) in 2007. The Hawkeyes shattered the sac hits record in 2011, successfully advancing runners 82 times.
In 2008, Brownlee's expertise on stealing bases and knowledge of hitting were essential in establishing team and individual records. Iowa stole 138 bases, which are the most in a single-season by a Hawkeye team; the previous record of 127 was set by the 1981 team. The team total ranked third in the country. On top of that, Iowa knocked out 436 singles for a new single-season record and wore 86 pitches to set a single-season team record in hit-by-pitches.
Under Brownlee's direction, four Hawkeyes moved up the record books in respective statistical categories in 2008. Justin Toole had 87 hits, which was the second-highest single-season total in school history and strung together 25-games in a row with a hit for a new Iowa record. Curry stole 45 bases for a new single-season record. In 2009, third baseman Kevin Hoef finished his career by shattering the career hit-by-pitch mark, getting plunked 68 times in his career.
Brownlee mentored Curry, Toole and Hoef to All-Big Ten and Curry and Toole to All-Mideast region laurels in 2008. In 2007, Toole was recognized on the third All-Big Ten and first all-regional teams, while White earned first all-conference and second team all-regional accolades. Shortstop Andy Lytle and White earned third All-Big Ten team honors in 2005.
Brownlee's success in recruiting didn't falter in 2008. The incoming class was ranked the 49th-best class according to Perfect Game Cross Checker. Iowa's ranking of 49 was the highest of any Big Ten team.
In 2007, Brownlee helped mentor the Hawkeyes to its best record in 14 years with a 31-23 mark. Iowa placed fourth in the league at 17-13, and earned its second trip to the Big Ten Tournament in three years, after going just once in the previous 15 seasons. During the season, Iowa defeated five teams (Nebraska, Fresno State, Ohio State, Minnesota and Michigan) that reached the NCAA Tournament. The Hawkeyes also put together a 12-game winning streak, which is the second-longest in school history. Included in the streak was a school-record 10-game Big Ten winning streak.
As hitting coach, Brownlee saw the team's batting average vault 55 points from 2005 to 2007 (.269 to .324). Additionally, the team also scored more runs (273 to 401) had more RBIs (249 to 345) and walks (152 to 245) during that time span.
In 2007, Iowa ranked high nationally in three offensive statistical categories: ninth in batting average (.324), 20th in scoring (7.4) and 36th in triples (0.33). Individually, White ranked sixth in the country in runs scored (1.32), Napoleon 10th in walks (0.94) and Sweet 14th in batting average (.413).
In 2005, Brownlee helped the Hawkeyes to their most successful season in 12 years. Iowa took third place in the Big Ten and advanced to their second conference tournament since 1990.
Prior to joining the Iowa staff, Brownlee served as the infield/baserunning coach and assisted with hitting and recruiting at James Madison University four years. Brownlee did a variety of game day assignments during his tenure at JMU, including coaching first base, bench coach, infield shifts, defensive plays and opponents' scouting reports. In back-to-back years (2001-02), Brownlee guided the Dukes to school record .967 and .968 fielding percentages. Also in 2002, the Dukes broke the school record for wins in a season with 43 and advanced to the NCAA Southeast Regional at Columbia, S.C., after winning the Colonial Athletic Association crown.
Before joining the James Madison coaching staff, Brownlee served as an assistant coach under his father, James, at Evansville for two seasons. While at Evansville, Brownlee was responsible for outfield, catching and hitting instruction. Brownlee advanced to the Purple Aces' coaching ranks after excelling as a player four seasons. A four-year starter at second base, Brownlee earned All-MCC honors in 1994 and All-MVC accolades in 1996. He was also selected to the American Baseball Coaches Association All-Region squad. In 1997, Brownlee was tabbed a TPX pre-season third-team all-American and he received the University of Evansville's William V. Slyker award for the most outstanding male athlete at the university.
In 2011, Brownlee was asked to speak at the ABCA National Coaches Convention.
Brownlee, a native of Evansville, graduated with a bachelor's degree in psychology with a minor in biology in 1997. He received his Master's in athletic administration in 2002 from James Madison. He and his wife, Aimee, have two children - Jackson and Norah.