August 8, 2014

Jeff Steele named assistant baseball coach

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BUIES CREEK, N.C. – Campbell head baseball coach Justin Haire has announced Jeff Steele as the Camels' pitching coach.

"We are so excited to welcome Jeff and his wife, Jamie, to our Campbell Baseball family," said Haire. "We are so fortunate to hire a man that has the experience, work ethic and dedication that Jeff has for the pitching side of the game. To be able to hire a man that has won a national championship, and has a strong history of player development through all levels of college baseball allows us to add positive energy, enthusiasm and passion to an already very strong staff."

Steele comes to Campbell after three seasons as Central Oklahoma's associate head coach.

"It's an exciting time for my wife and I to be able to come back to North Carolina," said Steele. "We're thrilled for the opportunity that Justin and the administration here at Campbell have granted us. We want to keep building on the success that they've had over the last three years and move deeper into postseason play."

Steele rounds out first-year head coach Justin Haire's staff, joining assistant coach Chris Marx, who was added to the program in July, director of baseball operations Frankie Everitte, entering his third season with the Camels, and second-year volunteer assistant Michael DeLucia.

"Whenever you can add men that have a strong history of player evaluation and development, as well as having careers as positive leaders, you can't ask for a whole lot more," added Haire. "We have been able to add blue collar, high character guys that know how to work, know how to develop young men into men of character, and know how to win at the highest level. Both Jeff and Chris have won national championships at the collegiate level, and to bring that experience to our program is only going to help us in our pursuit of Omaha."

Steele helped lead UCO to three consecutive 30-win seasons, with the Bronchos going 98-43 in that stretch. Central went 37-17 and was runner-up in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association in 2014, posting the program's most wins since 2007.

He has coached four All-MIAA pitchers the last two years, including Pitcher of the Year Ricky Reeves in 2014.

A native of British Columbia, Steele came to UCO after a highly-successful six-year stint as pitching coach at NAIA powerhouse Lubbock Christian.

Steele spent six years on the Lubbock Christian staff, helping the Chaparrals to a 290-76 record while making four national tournament appearances, including a runner-up finish in 2011, during that span.

LCU's pitching staff ranked in the top five nationally in strikeouts each of Steele's last four seasons, leading the NAIA last spring with 487 strikeouts in 471 innings when the Chaparrals finished 50-14.

Steele was an All-Conference and All-Region pitcher at Collin County (Texas) Community College before playing his last two years at Oklahoma Baptist. He was an All-American for the Bison in 2004, posting a 10-1 record with a 3.14 ERA in 97 innings.

Steele started his coaching career as an assistant at Chattanooga State (Tenn.) Community College, helping the Tigers win 37 games while lowering their team ERA over two runs a game during his lone season there in 2005.

He went to Lubbock Christian the following year and helped the Chaparrals produce five Major League Baseball Draft selections as pitchers, with seven pitchers signing professional contracts.

Steele has spent seven summers on the East Coast as a head coach in the Coastal Plains League (summer collegiate league), with more than 50 of his former CPL players having been drafted.

Steele graduated from Oklahoma Baptist in 2004 with a degree in social sciences, and earned his master's in education administration from Lubbock Christian in 2007.

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Campbell finished the 2014 season with a 41-21 overall record, tying for the second-most wins in school history. The Camels claimed the Big South Tournament Championship in Rock Hill, S.C., earning the school's second NCAA Regional berth.

In the Columbia Regional, No. 4 seed CU picked up its first-ever NCAA Regional win, knocking off third-seeded Old Dominion 4-1 in 12 innings.

Campbell has won 131 games over the last three years, and are one of just eight programs nationally with three consecutive 40-plus win seasons.