USF hires Indiana State’s Mitch Hannahs as baseball coach

USF baseball, which has suffered an NCAA tournament famine in recent years, is turning to a veteran with a solid history of leading a mid-major program to the postseason.

The school has hired Indiana State’s Mitch Hannahs, who has led the Sycamores to the NCAAs five times since 2014, including three of the last four seasons. Indiana State was 24th in the latest Baseball America rankings and reached the finals of the Lexington Regional.

In his 11 seasons at his alma mater, Hannahs, 56, posted a 355-214-1 record with one super regional appearance and consecutive Missouri Valley Conference regular season titles in 2023 and 2024. His final team (44-15) was ranked as high as 10th in the NCAA’s RPI.

“We are absolutely thrilled to welcome Mitch Hannahs and his family to Bulls Nation as the new leader of USF baseball,” USF athletic director Michael Kelly said in a statement released by the school.

“Highly respected in baseball circles with an outstanding coaching record that speaks for itself, Mitch did an incredible job elevating the Indiana State program to national prominence with its domination of the Missouri Valley Conference the last two years and multiple NCAA tournament appearances, including a super regional.

“I am excited by his vision and strategic plan to utilize USF’s facilities and resources to build a championship program in the baseball hotbed of Tampa Bay.”

A member of Indiana State’s athletics hall of fame, Hannahs played on three Sycamores teams that reached the NCAA tournament, including the 1986 club that made the College World Series. A 16th-round draft pick of the Brewers in 1989, he exited the program with a .372 career batting average.

After three minor-league seasons, he returned to ISU as an assistant for five years before getting his first head-coaching gig at Lincoln Trail College, a junior college program in Illinois. He amassed a 270-189 record over nine seasons and ultimately became president of the college before being hired at ISU in 2013.

“USF is an amazing institution with a thriving athletic department that is on an incredible trajectory,” Hannahs, a married dad of three, said in the USF release. “I am eager to get on campus to meet with our players and begin building a championship program. Go Bulls!”

Hannahs inherits a program that has suffered three consecutive losing seasons (only the second such drought in the program’s 59-year history) and has failed to qualify for the American Athletic Conference tournament twice since 2019. The 2024 club finished 26-29 and didn’t qualify for the eight-team AAC tourney, resulting in coach Billy Mohl’s dismissal after seven seasons.

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