Hall Named MEAC Coach of the Year
GREENSBORO (May 16, 2017) – Wins helped North Carolina A&T head coach Ben Hall earn Mid-Eastern Athletic Baseball Coach of the Year as announced by the conference on Tuesday. It wasn't wins, however, that helped Hall earn the head coaching job at N.C. A&T initially.
Hall was hired as an assistant coach for the North Carolina A&T baseball program in August of 2014 in part to help improve the Aggies hitting. Within two months a head coaching change made him the Aggies interim head coach at the age of 31. Despite winning 10 games as the interim head coach during the 2015 season, N.C. A&T athletics director Earl M. Hilton III removed the interim tag.
“I had a chance to observe him throughout the season, and I was impressed with what I saw from him in terms of paying attention to detail, preparation and overall leadership,” Hilton said at the time. “While our win-loss record was not what we hoped, coach Hall effectively guided the program through a difficult transition.”
Hall proved those qualities could lead to wins as well. The Aggies went from 10 wins to 13 wins in 2016. This season, the Aggies had one of the biggest turnarounds in Division I as they head into 2017 MEAC Baseball Championship Tournament this week, 26-23 overall and 15-9 in the MEAC. In improving the Aggies' win total by 13 games overall and nine games in the conference, Hall is leading the Aggies back to the tournament for the first in four years.
The Aggies were picked to finish fifth out of five teams in the MEAC Southern Division. Instead they will go into the tournament as the No. 2 seed out of the South. What is also impressive about the baseball program's ascent is that all of Hall's assistants – Tyrone Dawson, Jamie Serber and Stefan Jordan (volunteer) – are under 30. Hall, 34, credited his coaching staff.
“I am both humbled and excited,” said Hall. “I want to thank my staff first and foremost. This award honors the hard work they put in to build this program and get us going in the right direction. In my mind this is not a one-man show, it is an organizational award.”
Among the highlights this season for the Aggies was the program getting off to its best start since joining the MEAC in 1971 by opening the season at 9-4. The Aggies also tied the school record for conference wins, matching the 2010 team that went 15-3 in the MEAC. For the first time in six tries in program history, the Aggies beat the Charlotte 49ers twice in one season. The Aggies also swept archrival North Carolina Central for the first time since the Eagles joined the MEAC in 2011.
“When we first took over 2 ½ years ago, we told these guys to buy in, by into the process, do it the way we want you to do it, and we're going to change the cultural and the way you play the game,” said Hall. “We raised our expectation levels, and all of our guys have bought in and competed and done the things we've asked them.”
The Aggies open the MEAC tournament noon Wednesday against tournament host Maryland Eastern Shore at Perdue Stadium.