Skyhawk Baseball | Zac Cole - Graduate Assistant
Zac Cole has been a member of the Skyhawk baseball coaching staff since 2011.
A former pitcher at Ohio Valley Conference school Tennessee Tech and four-year veteran of the professional baseball ranks, Cole will work primarily with UT Martin’s pitching staff. His brother, Chris, is the pitching coach for fellow OVC member Murray State.
“I’m excited to work with Coach Cates and become a member of the UT Martin family,” Cole said. “I have kept up with the league quite a bit over the last few years and hopefully I can use that to my advantage.”
Because of his familiarity with the OVC and hard-work ethic, Cates welcomed Cole with open arms.
“He’s a baseball family guy,” Cates said. “His father pitched at Florida State and his whole family has been involved in the sport over the years. He’s a very knowledgeable guy and he will develop into a very good coach. He has a good feel for pitching and he will be great with our pitching staff, which will be one of the strengths of our team this year.”
Cole's impact was felt immediately in 2012, as the Skyhawk pitching staff set a new program record with 346 strikeouts. Cole oversaw a pair of the best pitchers in the league in Alec Mills and Dan Tobik. Mills, drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the 22nd round of the 2012 MLB Draft, ranked amongst the OVC leaders in innings pitched (6.36 per game), strikeouts (74), least walks (2.63 per game) and ERA (3.94). Tobik established himself as one of the league's premier relievers, notching five saves to go along with three victories. He boasted a 2.78 ERA with 66 strikeouts while limiting the opposition to a .212 batting average in 27 appearances.
Professionally, Cole played for the Amarillo (Texas) Dillas of the United League, tossing 18.1 innings over nine appearances in 2010. Also in that year, he spent time with the Normal (Ill.) Cornbelters of the Frontier League, posting a 2.08 ERA in 8.2 innings.
In 2008, Cole was a member of the Traverse City (Mich.) Beach Bums, who competed in the Frontier League. He compiled eight strikeouts in just 5.1 innings before suffering a season-ending back injury.
Armed with a fastball that topped out at 94 miles per hour, Cole signed a free agent contract with the Baltimore Orioles out of college and was assigned to their Gulf Coast League squad in 2007. He tallied a pair of saves and fanned 11 batters while posting a 5.84 ERA in 12.1 innings.
Cole played two seasons under head coach Matt Bragga at Tennessee Tech, where he was one of the OVC’s top pitchers as a junior in 2006. In 11 appearances (nine starts), Cole allowed just 42 hits over 50 innings for a .227 opponent batting average while sporting a team-best 3.78 ERA.
Although he was four innings shy of qualifying for the lead in any OVC statistical category, he would have finished second behind only Eastern Kentucky’s Christian Friedrich (an eventual first-round pick of the Colorado Rockies) in opponent batting average. His ERA would have ranked seventh behind such names as Friedrich, two-time OVC Pitcher of the Year Rowdy Hardy, and future MLB Draft selections Donovan Hand and Shawn Kelley.
Cole battled shoulder trouble for the majority of his senior season, making 16 appearances with four starts. For his Golden Eagle career, he sported a 3-6 record with a 5.30 ERA in 90 innings, allowing 95 hits over 18 appearances (13 starts). He was a finalist for Tennessee Tech’s Man of the Year in 2006, in which the university’s best male student-athlete is honored.
Before he enrolled at Tennessee Tech, Cole played at Palm Beach Community College, where he was a conference starter for two seasons. He tossed three complete game shutouts, including two against perennial national power Indian River Community College.
Cole prepped at Crystal River High School in Crystal River, Fla., where he compiled a 19-3 career mound record under head coach Brian Donovan. While at CRHS, Cole led the Pirates to four conference titles, three district championships and one regional title. In his senior season, he helped the Pirates to a Final Four appearance in the Florida state tournament. He was a three-time All-Citrus County selection and was named All-Gulf Coast Athletic Conference honoree twice. He was also on the Florida all-state team, the Florida Diamond Club, North Florida Scout team and FACA All-Star team squad.
A Dean’s List student, Cole graduated with a degree in business administration from Tennessee Tech in 2007.