Rob Watt Named New Head Baseball Coach

Rob Watt Named New Head Baseball Coach

Rob Watt has been named the new Head Coach of the University of Mount Olive Baseball team, it was announced by Vice President for Athletics Jeff Eisen. Watt takes over following the retirement of long-time UMO head Coach Carl Lancaster who headed the Trojans for 31 seasons.

"Once Carl decided it was time for him to step down, we didn't have to look far for his successor.  Rob has meant so much to the success of our baseball program on and off the field over the last 14 years.  He has assumed more and more responsibility as an assistant and is prepared to step into the head coaching position.  We look forward to Rob continuing that success and having the opportunity to put his own stamp on the program," said Eisen.

"After being a part of the program for 14 years it is an honor to be given the opportunity to be the head coach.  Since I got here in the Fall of 2004 this program has been a large part of my life.  I am extremely thankful to Carl and UMO for giving me the opportunity, as this is where my family and I now call home.  All three of my kids were raised around this program and school.  Fourteen years is a long time to invest into anything, and is a huge reason I am so excited to be given this chance.  For Jeff Eisen and Dr. Kerstetter to have the faith in me to continue this programs storied success is also an honor and I want to thank them for that," said Watt.

Watt was named as an assistant baseball coach in the summer of 2004 and has served as both a hitting coach and pitching coach. Since Watt joined the Mount Olive baseball coaching staff, the Trojans have won nine conference championships and have earned 11 NCAA Tournament appearances. Mount Olive won NCAA II regional titles in 2008 and 2011 and won the NCAA Division II Baseball National Championship in 2008. The Trojans tied for third in the 2011 National Finals in Cary, N.C.

The Trojans have also had 28 Players drafted and/or signed with MLB organizations, 29 Players signed to Professional Independent League contracts, 30 NCAA All-Americans, two NCAA National Player of the Year Recipients, 108 Conference Carolinas All-Conference selections, and 47 Conference Carolinas All-Tournament Team selections under the assistance of Watt.

 

"I am fully aware that the man I will be succeeding has one of the most impressive resumes in all of college baseball.  My job will not be to fill Carl's shoes, he's a legend, my job will be to continue to keep this program among the most respected in the country and uphold the tradition that he created over the last 31 years.  I will forever be indebted to Carl for the opportunity and the faith he showed in me years ago, he gave a young coach the freedom to work in several capacities that many established coaches would not have.  Our time coaching together has seen several, very successful seasons and seen so many amazing young men represent our program.  

Having talented players who trust you with their development and give you their best at all times has made our job easier- we owe everything to them. This program is nothing without the players that have come through it over the years.  So, I do like to feel that we have developed our own recipe for success and I would be foolish not to continue to keep that strong foundation moving forward.  We have both been blessed to coach with two extremely talented coaches in Jason Sherrer and Jesse Lancaster, and I owe the two of them a lot of thanks for the program being in the position it is in these days.  

I am excited beyond belief to start this journey, it is a great opportunity for me.  However, I do need to give my wife and kids a huge amount of praise as well. A coach's life is busy and having a supportive wife to pick up a lot of the slack at home is essential.  I will forever be indebted to my wife Shawn for allowing me to pursue this career.  I am extremely thankful to my children, who have sacrificed plenty as well, for always being understanding.  

It is a huge honor to be named head coach at UMO and I can assure everyone that I will work tirelessly to ensure that the program continues to win and cultivate a culture that produces the finest young men around," concluded Watt.

Along with his duties at Mount Olive, Watt spent four years coaching in the Coastal Plain League, a summer amateur wood bat league. Watt guided the Edenton Steamers to the 2004 CPL Championship and the Martinsville Mustangs to back-to-back first and second half league championships. Watt also coached in the CPL All-Star Game in 2006 and 2007.

Watt earned both his undergraduate and master's degree in exercise science at Wayne State College (Neb.), where he was a two-year member of the baseball team and team captain. He also spent three years as an assistant coach at Wayne State.

Originally from Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Watt and his wife Shawn have three children: 19-year-old Mason, 15-year-old Rowan, and 10-year-old Rylie, who was born the year Mount Olive won the national championship.

Watt takes over the UMO Baseball program at the conclusion of the 2018 season. Mount Olive is currently waiting to see if it receives an at-large bid to the NCAA Southeast Regional Tournament, following its runner-up finish in the Conference Carolinas Baseball Championship Tournament.