SAN ANTONIO — Head baseball coach Jason Marshall announced Thursday the addition of Jim Blair as associate head coach along with the retention of current assistant Brett Lawler. Blair will assume the hitting coach and recruiting duties, while Lawler will shift from the offensive side and mentor the pitching staff next season.
"I'm thrilled to add a person of Jim's caliber to our staff," Marshall said. "With the conference changes that are ahead for UTSA, we are going to have to compete well on the recruiting trail and Jim has a track record of incredible success in that area. His teams have continually competed in the NCAA Tournament and he is one of the top recruiting coordinators in the country. He also will bring a competitive toughness and aggressive style of baseball to our program."
"I'm excited to be back in San Antonio," Blair said. "I'm looking forward to the opportunity of working with Coach Marshall again and am excited to help in the development of the program. I would like to thank Athletics Director Lynn Hickey for her vision and leadership of the UTSA Athletics Department. This is an exciting time for UTSA and I'm glad to be a part of it."
Blair returns to UTSA after spending last season as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Dallas Baptist. He helped the Patriots to a 41-19 record and an appearance in the 2012 NCAA Waco Regional.
Prior to his stint at DBU, Blair was an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator under legendary coach Mark Johnson at Sam Houston State for five seasons from 2007-11. While in Huntsville, he helped the Bearkats to three consecutive NCAA Regional appearances (2007-09) and tutored a pair of All-Americans (Bobby Verbick 2007/Todd Sebek 2008). Blair's responsibilities included mentoring the offense, which set 19 school records during his tenure. As the recruiting coordinator, he signed 14 players to National Letters of Intent that were either drafted or signed with Major League Baseball (MLB) organizations and coached 11 All-Southland Conference honorees.
Blair spent the previous five campaigns as an assistant at UTSA from 2002-06. While in the Alamo City, he served as the hitting coach and helped the Roadrunners to a berth in the 2005 NCAA Waco Regional. He tutored 2002 All-American Mark Schramek, who also was the first player in program history to be selected in the first round of the MLB First-Year Player Draft when he was the 40th overall pick by the Cincinnati Reds that season. The Roadrunners were one of the top offensive teams in the Southland, hitting a league-best 55 home runs in 2004 and program-record 30 triples the following year.
Before entering the coaching ranks, Blair was a three-year starter in the outfield for Steve Smith at Baylor. He twice earned All-Big 12 laurels and still holds the school record with a 31-game hitting streak. Blair led the Bears with a .376 batting average in 1997 and signed a free agent contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1998.
Blair graduated in 2000 with a bachelor's degree in education with emphasis in health and human performance. He is married to the former Pamela Ann Maiden and they have three sons, Carson, Andrew and Reid.
Marshall and Blair will be joined in the dugout next season by Lawler, who has spent the last five seasons as an assistant with the Roadrunners.
Lawler, who was a volunteer coach in his first two years at UTSA, has worked with the program's hitters and catchers the last three seasons. He helped the program win the 2008 Southland Regular Season Championship, has coached a pair of Freshman All-Americans (Ryan Dalton 2010/Riley Good 2011) and eight of his hitters have been selected in the MLB Draft.
"Between Jim and Brett, I have chosen two guys who are very well connected in the recruiting and scouting community," Marshall said. "They are well-rounded young teachers of the game of baseball and both have an outstanding work ethic."