Former ‘Bama, NSU coach Gaspard gets promotion on Tech baseball staff

Mitch Gaspard knows what’s necessary to run a highly successful college baseball program. He’s been the man in charge doing exactly that twice, at Northwestern State and at Alabama, and has been part of high caliber accomplishments as an assistant at several other stops.

He’s been a vital cog in Lane Burroughs’ Louisiana Tech staff for the past two seasons, both very successful, especially this spring’s campaign that shattered school records while elevating the Bulldogs into the national rankings and the host’s role for an NCAA Regional.

Gaspard joined the Louisiana Tech coaching staff in after logging more than 30 years in the collegiate coaching ranks. He is a two-time head coach, recording head coaching stints at Northwestern State (2002-07) and Alabama (2010-16), winning over 60 percent of his games and making multiple NCAA Regional appearances.

He and Burroughs faced off when Burroughs was an assistant at Mississippi State and Gaspard ran the Crimson Tide program. They got even closer when Burroughs took the NSU head coaching position in the years before he sparkled enough to be hired by Tech. With his two daughters living in the vicinity, and with his high regard for Burroughs, Gaspard embraced the chance to return to north Louisiana and join the Bulldogs in July 2019.

Wednesday, his contributions were rewarded when Burroughs announced his promotion to associate head coach.

Gaspard helped coach the Bulldogs’ offense to a historic 2021 campaign. The Bulldogs led Conference USA with a .306 batting average while also topping the league in on-base percentage (.397), hits (643) and walks (271).

Gaspard, whose Louisiana baseball lineage traces all the way back to Skip Bertman at LSU, helped guide three LA Tech hitters to All-America honors this past season, including Hunter Wells earning First Team All-America honors from Baseball America and the ABCA.

“It goes without saying that we are very fortunate to have a coach the caliber and with the experience of coach Gaspard here at Louisiana Tech,” Burroughs said. “He has helped elevate our program and added so much value to our players and to myself. He is a man of integrity and character and someone that demands respect when he has the floor.

“I feel the job he has done with our hitters and offense has been amazing. He has had opportunities to leave, but he has stayed the course with us. He played a huge role in helping our program navigate without a home. I’m looking forward to sharing the dugout with Mitch for years to come.”

The Bulldogs set a program record with five student-athletes notching First Team All-Conference USA honors in 2021, four of which were position players. Six Bulldogs with at least 100 at-bats batted over .300 this past season, including All-Americans Wells (.385), Parker Bates (.346) and Taylor Young (.331) each batting over .330 as the trio formed Tech’s first three spots in the batting order.

Under Gaspard’s tutelage, Bates, a ninth-round selection of the Kansas City Royals in the 2021 MLB Draft, became the first LA Tech player to earn All-America honors in back-to-back seasons. Gaspard also helped coach Wells to the LA Tech career hits record, single-season hits record and single-season total bases record during the 2021 season.

In the two seasons Gaspard has been on staff, LA Tech’s offense has been shut out just twice in 79 games. The Bulldogs ranked 10th nationally in 2021 with 463 runs scored and 19th nationally by averaging 7.5 runs scored per game.

“I want to thank Lane Burroughs and the administration for this new opportunity and responsibility to help continue to build our baseball program here at Louisiana Tech,” Gaspard said. “It’s already been rewarding, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for our baseball program and university.”

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