June 23, 2017
THE FLATS – Georgia Tech baseball head coach Danny Hall has announced the promotion of alum and volunteer coach Mike Nickeas to assistant coach, while fellow Jacket alum Eric Patterson will assume the role of volunteer coach.
Nickeas, who will work with the hitters and catchers, replaces another former Tech catcher in Bryan Prince who stepped down as assistant coach at the conclusion of the 2017 season to pursue other opportunities.
“I am pleased to announce the hiring of Mike Nickeas as an assistant coach. Mike and his wife Rebecca are both graduates of the Institute and bring passion and commitment to our mission of providing the best academic and athletic experience for our baseball players. He was a great player on great teams, including the 2002 College World Series team,” stated Coach Hall. “Mike will coach our hitters and catchers, and will draw on his experiences as an MLB catcher with the New York Mets and the Toronto Blue Jays to enhance our player development.”
Nickeas just completed his third year back with the Georgia Tech baseball program returning in 2015 after playing three years under Hall in the early 2000’s. He played 11 years of professional baseball, including four years in Major League Baseball (MLB).
He was promoted to volunteer assistant coach prior to the start of the 2016 season, after spending the 2015 year as a manager while he completed his bachelor’s degree in business administration.
“I would like to thank Georgia Tech, The Georgia Tech Athletic Association, our Director of Athletics Todd Stansbury and his entire staff for the opportunity to continue my coaching career at Georgia Tech. I would also like to thank Coach Hall for the faith he is placing in me by honoring me with this promotion,” stated Nickeas. “I have had the distinct privilege of both playing for Coach Hall and coaching alongside him for the past three seasons. I know how much he demands of his staff and players and I am excited to meet and exceed his expectations in my new role.”
“I would like to thank the student athletes that I have had the privilege of working with over the past three seasons. I look forward to the responsibility of furthering their development both as baseball players and men,” Nickeas continued. “I cannot deny the excitement I feel to have the opportunity to coach baseball at Georgia Tech. Georgia Tech is in my heart. I am so proud of the education I received, both in the classroom and on The Flats. To be a part of this Institute is the greatest honor and responsibility I can imagine being given.”
In the fall of 2016, Nickeas served as a bench coach for the Great Britain National Team that competed in the qualifying round of the 2017 World Baseball Classic held at MCU Park in Brooklyn, N.Y. from Sept. 22-25. Great Britain went 2-2 overall with wins over Pakistan and Brazil before falling to Israel 9-1 in the championship game.
Named an assistant coach for the Stripes team at the 2017 17U National Team Development Program, which will take place July 22-28 in Chicago, Nickeas is a three-time USA Baseball alum. The former Yellow Jacket played for Team USA on the 1999 16U National Team, the 2001 18U National Team and the 2003 Collegiate National Team.
A standout catcher for the Yellow Jackets from 2002-04, Nickeas played in 151 games in his collegiate career and hit .291 with 17 home runs and 95 RBIs. He was a freshman on the Jackets’ 2002 College World Series squad and helped Tech to an ACC Championship in 2003. He also led the team in hitting his sophomore season.
Before starting his coaching career, he played professional baseball for 11 years, including four years in the Major Leagues. He spent three years as a catcher for the New York Mets and one year with the Toronto Blue Jays before retiring following the 2014 season.
Patterson will assume the volunteer assistant coaching role with the promotion of Nickeas.
“Eric Patterson, also a graduate of Tech, and a member of the GT Hall of Fame will assume the volunteer position,” continued Hall. “He and Mike were teammates on the 2002 CWS team and like Mike, he played in the MLB with four organizations. Eric will use his MLB experience to coach our infielders, base runners and assist Mike with our hitters.”
A 2016 Georgia Tech Hall of Fame inductee, Patterson’s career got off to a flying start in 2002, when he earned third-team all-America honors and helped spur the Yellow Jackets to their second trip to the College World Series. During his career at Tech, he made the all-ACC team three times in three years, helped the Jackets to 140 victories, an ACC Tournament title in 2003 and an ACC regular-season title in 2004.
A terror on the base paths, he stole 124 bases in three seasons, three shy of the Tech record, and posted the second- and third-highest season totals in Tech history with 48 steals in 2004 and 41 in 2002. The second baseman finished his career eighth on Tech’s all-time list for runs scored (205) and triples (12), and hit .316 for his career.
“Georgia Tech has always been and continues to be a special place for me. I view it as a second home,” Patterson said. “I’m extremely excited and humbled for the opportunity to work with Coach Hall and the rest of the coaching staff, as well as the student-athletes to build upon the tradition of excellence that has long been established here on The Flats.”
Patterson, who completed his degree in business administration with a concentration in marketing last December, was selected in the eighth round of the 2004 Major League First-Year Player Draft by the Chicago Cubs and played at the Major League level for the Chicago Cubs, Oakland Athletics, Boston Red Sox and San Diego Padres between 2007-11.
“Georgia Tech is a special place. So to have two former players who value and model the goals of competing at the highest levels in both academics and baseball is a blessing,” Hall said.