July 18, 2012
THE FLATS – Georgia Tech baseball head coach Danny Hall announced Wednesday that former UNC Wilmington assistant coach Jason Howell has been named to the same position with the reigning ACC Champion Yellow Jackets. Howell will serve as Tech’s pitching coach.
The highly-regarded Howell, 33, who played and coached at the University of North Carolina and was a four-year pitcher in the pros, spent the previous five years as the Seahawks’ pitching coach. Under Howell’s direction, UNCW was one of the leading pitching staffs in the Colonial Athletic Association and reached the NCAA Regionals in 2012 for the first time since 2008.
“Georgia Tech is adding an extremely talented pitching coach in Jason Howell,” Hall said. “He has all the qualities I am looking for in a member of my staff. Jason has a proven track record of developing young talent. He is familiar with the ACC in helping take North Carolina to the College World Series, and enjoyed a successful career in professional baseball. I am excited to add Jason to our staff and I welcome him, his wife Meredith and their young daughter Lena to the Yellow Jackets.”
The Seahawks’ staff ranked 67th nationally (second in the CAA) in 2012, boasting a team ERA of 3.61 and shaving nearly two runs per game off its ERA from the previous season. Senior right-handed starter Tyler McSwain (3.18 ERA) and junior left-handed starter Mat Batts (3.04) keyed the staff’s rise in 2012, and each were All-CAA performers. McSwain, a first-team pick, broke the CAA’s all-time record for wins in conference play with 17. Four key relievers posted ERAs of less than 3.00.
“This is a tremendous opportunity at Georgia Tech,” said Howell. “I can’t express how excited I am to work with Coach Hall, who is one of the most well-respected coaches in the game, and his staff. The Yellow Jackets have been among the most successful college programs in college baseball, and I look forward to helping continue that tradition. I know they have an excellent group of pitchers coming back, and I’m anxious to begin working with all of them. I enjoyed a remarkable five years at UNCW and I want to thank (head coach) Mark Scalf, his staff, and the great student-athletes for the opportunity.”
In 2010, under the direction of Howell, UNCW returned to the top of the CAA, leading the 11-team circuit in ERA (4.58), strikeouts (479) and opponent’s batting average (.265). The Seahawks ranked 42nd nationally in ERA and were ninth in hits allowed per game, allowing nine per nine innings.
Cameron Roth, who would be drafted by the Baltimore Orioles, finished fifth in the conference with a 2.98 ERA while McSwain was ninth with a 4.02 mark. Joining Roth as draft selections were Stephen Harrold (12th round, San Francisco) and Seth Frankoff (27th round, Oakland).
In his first season, Howell made an immediate impact on the staff. Brad Holt and Jeff Hatcher earned First Team All-CAA honors while Harrold and Roth were named All-America in addition to their CAA All-Freshman honors. UNCW topped the CAA in earned run average. In conference play, Seahawk pitchers compiled a league-leading 3.84 ERA and held opponents to a league-best .255 batting average. Holt, who also earned three All-America honors, was the 33rd pick overall in the Major League Baseball draft after leading the conference with 11 wins and ranking second with a 3.18 ERA.
Prior to working at UNCW, Howell played and coached at North Carolina, and also played professionally for four years.
A native of Millers Creek, N.C., Howell came to UNCW following two seasons as an assistant coach at North Carolina, his alma mater. He coached first base while working with the pitching staff under the direction of assistant coach Scott Forbes.
The Tar Heels reached the championship series of the NCAA College World Series in 2007 and 2008 – both of Howell’s years in Chapel Hill. The 2007 staff fashioned a 3.52 earned run average, ranking 12th nationally, and featured draft picks Luke Putkonen (3rd round, Detroit), Andrew Carignan (5th round, Oakland) and Robert Woodard (20th round, San Diego). In 2006, major league draft selections, Andrew Miller (1st round, Detroit), Daniel Bard (1st round, Boston) and national ERA leader Jonathan Hovis (FA, New York Yankees) led the Tar Heels into the finals.
Howell began his coaching career as a pitching coach for the Southern Ohio Copperheads of the Great Lakes League, a summer collegiate league, in 2005.
He played three seasons at Appalachian State before concluding his collegiate career at UNC, where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in 2002. He also graduated from UNC in 2008 with a master’s degree.
In 2001, he earned Second Team All-ACC honors after both pitching and playing in the field for the Tar Heels. On the mound, Howell went 6-2 with four saves and was also second on the team with a .350 batting average with 13 doubles and 29 runs batted in. For his efforts, Howell earned the S.H. Basnight Award as the Tar Heels’ Most Valuable Pitcher.
Prior to joining the UNC coaching staff, Howell was a member of the Boston Red Sox farm system for four seasons before retiring from professional baseball in 2005. He compiled a 28-14 mark, collected 23 saves and recorded a 3.86 ERA with the Red Sox. In 2002, he paced Boston’s minor league circuit with 17 saves for Augusta and later topped the organization in 2003 when he made 48 appearances for Sarasota of the Florida State League.
Howell married the former Meredith White on Nov. 14, 2009. The couple has a daughter Lena (born March 2011).