Sean Lyons – Head Coach – Baseball Coaches
SIUE baseball head coach Sean Lyons is entering his fifth season in the dugout in 2021. Lyon have a career record of 65-105 in four seasons at the helm of SIUE.
After a promising start before the suspension from college sports, the Cougars ended the abbreviated 2020 season at 8-7 overall and 3-0 in the Ohio Valley Conference. The program included non-conference victories over Nicholls State, George Washington, Texas-San Antonio and Stephen F. Austin. The Cougars swept their only Ohio Valley Conference series against Tennessee Tech while featuring a strong pitching staff and improved roster.
SIUE hit 0.314 in its three-game sweep against Tennessee Tech, while limiting the visiting Golden Eagles to a 0.148 batting average. Cougar pitchers whipped up 45 batters in three days.
In 2019, the Cougars won 19 games, adding four wins in the previous season. SIUE won 11 Ohio Valley Conference games in 2019, tied for most OVC wins under Lyon, but has not won their first OVC tournament since 2015. SIUE has won the OVC Series against Southeast Missouri, UT Martin and Murray State in 2019.
As a team, SIUE has improved on both sides of the pitch. The Cougars reached 0.263 as a team, improving their team score by nearly 20 points, while lowering their team’s earned-run average. SIUE has remained one of the best commissioning teams in the OVC.
Two longtime Cougars, Brock Weimer and Dustin Woodcock, ended their Cougar careers under Lyon in 2019. Weimer logged on 12 home runs in 2019 and finished with a school record of 35 long balls in his career. His 140 RBIs are ninth in his career at SIUE. Woodcock finished eighth on the career list for games played and started at SIUE while racking up 48 doubles to place No.8 on the all-time roster. He also appears in the top 20 with 120 RBIs during his tenure.
Pitchers Kenny Serwa and Colin Baumgartner continue to establish themselves as top pitchers. Serwa won All-OVC honors despite a season cut short by injury. Serwa made seven starts and tied for the lead of the OVC with two complete matches. Baumgartner is tied for third in the league with 15 starts. His 82 strikeouts led the team and his 9.93 strikeouts per nine innings was the league’s fifth-best.
Playing a tough non-conference schedule, the Cougars finished 15-37 overall in 2018. During the season, SIUE faced Louisiana Tech, Oral Roberts and the top-25-ranked Wichita State while also taking on a pair of regional teams from the NCAA – Tennessee Tech and Morehead State in the Ohio Valley Conference are playing. Under Lyon, Jared McCunn ended his two-year career in 2018, leading the team with a .321 batting average. Receiver Brock Weimer continued his strong home plate, leading the team in home runs and RBIs for a second straight season. Pitchers Mason McReaken and Nelson Martz ended their SIUE careers under Lyon and began their journey into professional baseball. McReaken in his second season with the Atlanta Braves.
Finishing at 23-29, Lyon set a new school record for first-year head coach victories in 2017.
In his first season in charge, Lyons oversaw a 14-win improvement from the previous season, marking the 13th-biggest turnaround in the NCAA.
Much of the Cougars’ turnaround came from a much improved offense. SIUE had its best offensive season since moving to NCAA Division I in 2009. The Cougars combined for a .293 batting average, which was the team’s highest average since 2010. In the game OVC, the average jumped to .316, which was the third best. in the league.
SIUE’s 530 hits were second in the Division I era, and the Cougars’ 340 hits in conference games were third in the OVC. The Cougars beat 0.439 for the year and hit base at a clip of 0.379, the two highs on the schedule for the Division I era.
The Cougars have scored 335 points, hit 53 homers and produced 319 points, all of the best in the Division I era and all despite fewer games than many previous seasons.
Under Lyon’s leadership, several players have experienced breakout seasons at home plate. Second-year wide receiver Brock Weimer took home All-OVC first-team honors after leading the team with 15 home runs and 50 RBIs. His 15 home runs equaled SIUE’s single season record.
Senior second baseman Alec Skender placed fourth in the OVC with a .388 batting average to win second-team All-OVC honors. His GPA was only one point off the Division I-era school record. He finished the year with 83 successes, the most in Division-era school history. I.
Young Redshirt Eric Giltz reached .302 for the year, en route to winning an OVC All-Freshman squad selection. Giltz hit 0.340 during OVC play.
Senior slugger Keaton Wright (0.317) and junior Dustin Woodcock (0.330) each hit over 0.300 for the season while setting new career highs in RBI. Wright produced 43 points, while also setting a career-high 12 home runs. Woodcock scored 42 points and tied his career high with six home runs.
In total, six regulars have reached 0.300 or better for the season.
Defense has also proven to be a strong point for the Cougars. SIUE led the OVC and was 30th in the NCAA with a .979 defense percentage. As a team, the Cougars made only 40 mistakes in a total of 1,870 chances. SIUE made 48 double plays, which was the second biggest of the Division I era.
Prior to joining SIUE, Lyons was an associate head coach at Bradley. Named head coach of the Cougars in June 2016, he is the fourth head coach in SIUE baseball history.
The Byron, Ill. Native spent a total of seven seasons with Bradley’s team, where he served as a recruiting coordinator and batting instructor. The 2016 season was his first as an associate head coach of the program. In his final season at Bradley, the Braves ranked 9th nationally with an average of 2.32 doubles per game. The Braves were third in the Missouri Valley Conference with a batting average of 0.283 and 116 doubles.
In 2015, Bradley secured a spot off for the NCAA Championship, and the Braves’ 0.311 batting average was the highest team score for the tournament.
Lyons signed and coached nine Major League Baseball draft picks, coached four Louisville Slugger Freshman All-Americans and 14 first- and second-team All-MVC selections at Bradley. Under Lyon, Mike Tauchman was named 2013 Joe Carter MVC Player of the Year.
A regular at the Ohio Valley Conference, Lyons spent six seasons with the Eastern Illinois team before moving to Bradley. The Panthers won the OVC tournament title in 2008 and were OVC regular season champions in 2009. Also in 2009, the Panthers placed second in the country in batting with a batting average of .362.
At EIU, Lyons coached seven MLB Draft picks, three Freshman All-Americans and eight OVC First Team members.
Lyon played for Eastern Illinois from 1996 to 1999, leading the Panthers in hitting for three consecutive seasons. He was selected as one of Eastern Illinois ’20 Greatest OVC Athletes during the Panthers’ celebration of their first 20 years in the OVC.
He obtained a Bachelor of Science degree from EIU in 1999.
Lyons and his wife Jill have a daughter, Maleah, and a son, Landry.
What they said about Sean Lyons:
âSean is a wonderful human being. He’s a great coach, but a better person. I was lucky to have him here for as long as I did. He’s a rising star. He will put his heart and soul into this program. There are great days ahead for SIUE.
Elvis Dominguez, baseball head coach, Bradley
“I said that when I introduced Sean for the Hall of Fame in Eastern Illinois – the two eras in which we won at EIU, Sean was involved either as a player or as a coach. Sean is a winner. He’s a guy with character. He’s a great motivator and a great recruiter, but above all he’s a winner. SIUE has a great person and a great family. I’m excited for Sean and excited for the program.
Jim Schmitz, Former Baseball Head Coach, Eastern Illinois
âAs an alumnus, I would like to welcome Sean Lyons to SIUE. It will certainly energize the program. He’s a great recruiter who knows how to win and how to build a program and will engage the SIUE community.
Darin Hendrickson, head baseball coach, Saint Louis, former SIUE baseball student
âAs a member of the search committee, I saw the whole process. We had a lot of interest as we should have. It is phenomenal work. We had it until two big finalists. I am delighted to have Sean on board. I think he will do an amazing job. I can’t wait for it to start.
Chad Opel, former SIUE baseball student, Athletics Hall of Fame member