VALDOSTA, Ga. – Greg Guilliams has been named head coach of the Valdosta State baseball team, according to an announcement made by VSU President Dr. Ronald Zaccari Thursday afternoon.
Guilliams takes over the Blazer program after spending the last 16 seasons as the head coach at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Fla. During his tenure with the Eagles, Guilliams led Embry-Riddle to 661 wins, an average of 41 a year, against 256 losses and one tie, a .721 winning percentage. Since the beginning of the 2000 season, Embry-Riddle has tallied a 377-108 record (.777), the best record by any team in the state of Florida, regardless of classification.
Guilliams directed the Eagles to 11 NAIA regional tournament and six NAIA College World Series appearances, including a national runner-up finish in 2004, during his 16 years with the school. His squad was ranked nationally in eight of the last nine years and finished among the top five in the nation in five of the last seven years. His squad has finished either first or second every year in the 12-year history of the Florida Sun Conference while compiling a 236-79-1, a .748 winning percentage, league mark during that time. Guilliams’ success has not come just against NAIA competition as eight times the Eagles have faced NCAA Division II College World Series participants over the last seven years, tallying a 5-3 mark in those contests.
Guilliams’ knowledge and ability to teach the game of baseball has been evident in his teams’ performance on the field. His 2004 squad led the nation in pitching and defense, tallying a 2.67 team earned run average and a .966 fielding percentage, while the 2005 squad accomplished the feat with a 2.62 ERA and a .970 fielding percentage. Since 1994, his squad has led the NAIA ranks in team ERA a total of five times and has finished among the top 15 teams in the nation 13 times.
His ability as a recruiter and teacher has also been evident in accolades won by his players over the years as 44 Embry-Riddle players received All-American accolades under his tutelage, including Frankie Thompson, who was named the 1996 NAIA National Player of the Year. Additionally, a record seven times an Embry-Riddle Eagle was named FSC Player of the Year while 24 former Eagles have signed contracts with Major League organizations. Guilliams’ players also succeeded in the classroom as 14 times an Eagle earned All-America Scholar Athlete honors.
Guilliams’ success has earned him numerous accolades as he has been named the American Baseball Coaches Association Regional NAIA Coach of the Year six times while being recognized as FSC Coach of the Year on seven occasions. In 2003, the Florida Diamond Club chose Guilliams as its Amateur Coach of the Year.
Guilliams took over at Embry-Riddle in 1991 and led the team to a 24-24 record, his only non-winning season at the helm of the Eagles. The 24 wins marked a nine-win improvement from the 1990 Eagle squad. He began his career at Penn State-Behrend in 1990 during which his team won 14 games, an improvement of 10 wins from the year before his arrival.
Guilliams played collegiately at NAIA’s Ohio Dominican, where he earned his Bachelor of Arts in Education and History in 1984. He was a three-year captain and garnered NAIA All-American honors three times for ODC and was an elected into the school’s Hall of Fame in the inaugural class of 1997.
Following his collegiate career, Guilliams signed a professional contract with the Atlanta Braves organization and spent one year in the team’s minor league system. He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Eastern Kentucky in 1987.
“I am extremely excited to have Greg join the VSU team as our new head baseball coach,” stated VSU Athletic Director Herb Reinhard. “During his outstanding career at Embry-Riddle, Greg built a national powerhouse. His teams enjoyed outstanding success on the field and in the classroom. During the search process, I received very positive feedback on Coach Guilliams from individuals in the baseball profession.
“Valdosta State baseball has enjoyed a rich tradition of success. I firmly believe that Greg is the right person to take the reins of our baseball program and to build on that very rich tradition.”