On the heels of Lamar's Southland Conference Tournament championship and resulting run to the 2010 NCAA Fort Worth Regional, Cardinal baseball coach Jim Gilligan announced the promotion of longtime assistant Jim Ricklefsen to Associate Head Coach.
Ricklefsen has now completed his 14th season with the Cardinals baseball program, a run over which he has helped the program advance to four NCAA Regionals. Lamar has won at least 35 games in nine of Ricklefsen's 14 seasons.
"Very seldom in our profession do you see good assistant coaches stay in one spot for so long, but Jimmy has been very loyal to me and our program," said Gilligan. "I felt an obligation to elevate his status. I'm having too much fun to retire, but I feel Jimmy deserves to be recognized for his work."
Ricklefsen came to Lamar after spending 11 seasons at McNeese State, the final three as head coach. The Houston native posted an 81-79 record with the Cowboys, including tying the school record for wins in a season with a 41-16 campaign in 1995. The Cowboys' .719 winning percentage that season set a school record.
"I am honored that Coach Gilligan would think about me along these lines," noted Ricklefsen on the title change. "I owe a lot to Lamar and to Coach Gilligan, and I consider this my home.
"One of our biggest strengths is the continuity of our coaching staff, and the administration has really taken care of us so we could stay together."
Ricklefsen serves as the recruiting coordinator for the Cardinals in addition to coaching third base, working with the infielders, defensive alignment and assisting with the hitters.
Having built a reputation as one of the top recruiters in Texas and Louisiana, Ricklefsen continues to attract to Beaumont quality players who have kept Lamar in the hunt for a conference championship on a regular basis.
Ricklefsen's Cowboys finished second in the Southland Conference standings in 1995 and second in the league tournament. McNeese sent 10 players from that squad to the professional ranks, the highest number for any school in the nation that year.
"Jimmy did an outstanding job at McNeese," said Gilligan. "He is an excellent recruiter and a good judge of talent, and he brings a strong work ethic to our program."
Ricklefsen began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at McNeese in 1987. He quickly moved up to the top assistant the next season, and served seven seasons (1988-94) before being named head coach for the 1995 season.
McNeese posted a 275-149 record during that time and won one SLC championship and one conference tournament title and made two NCAA Tournament appearances.
McNeese State had 32 players sign professional contracts during Ricklefsen's tenure at the school, and he was directly responsible for recruiting 23 of those players.
Ricklefsen played collegiately at McNeese State. He was a three-year starter as both an infielder and outfielder.
Ricklefsen posted a career-best .333 batting average during his senior season. He twice led the team in stolen bases and hit 11 career home runs.
Ricklefsen played for current Rice University head baseball coach Wayne Graham at San Jacinto Junior College before attending McNeese State.
Ricklefsen, a native of Houston, served three years on the NCAA's Southern Region At-Large Search Advisory Baseball Committee, which recommends at-large teams to be selected to play in NCAA Regionals.
An avid fisherman, Ricklefsen prepped at Northbrook High School. He and his wife Andrea have one daughter - Lauren.
Email Jim Ricklefsen