Greg Lovelady could have worn a national championship ring to his introductory press conference at Nischwitz Stadium.
Instead, he wore one of his Horizon League championship rings. It’s actually bigger than the ones he got at the University of Miami, which won the College World Series twice during his player career.
A coach with a collection of championship rings isn’t a bad thing to have. Wright State officially announced the hiring of Lovelady on Wednesday. He’s the fifth head baseball coach in school history, and his job has already begun. As he finished talking to the media Wednesday, his players started filing in for individual workouts.
When coach Rob Cooper left for Penn State earlier this month, Lovelady, 34, was the natural choice to succeed him. He was on the staff for Cooper’s entire nine-year tenure and was the associate head coach for the final seven seasons.
“You go in with some worry if you go into a brand-new program,” Lovelady said. “There’s just so much you have to learn: the players, the system, the campus, the city. I don’t have to worry about any of that. All I have to worry about is continuing to do what I did as a recruiting coordinator and then add some things I want to do as a head coach, things I want to change, which is very minimal from what coach Cooper did. I’ve got a foundation that’s already built.”
Lovelady played three seasons at Miami. He was a catcher and a member of the national championship teams in 1999 and 2001. He hit a career-best .314 in 1999 and was a captain in 2001 when he was voted the team’s most popular player by the fans.
After college, Lovelady played one season in the Florida Marlins minor league system with Utica in the New York-Penn League. He realized then he wanted to be around the college game.
“I went to college thinking I wanted to be in baseball as a general manager,” he said. “I thought I was going to go front office. But I didn’t think I was cutthroat enough to really do it. I was a walk-on in college. I was a nobody and had these four coaches who cared about me and wanted me to get better. I felt like that was something I wanted to pass on to other kids.”