Assistant Coach Mike Tidick
In his ninth season on the Georgia Southern staff working with Rodney Hennon, Mike Tidick continues to build on his reputation as one of the top offensive coaches and recruiters around.
Continuing their reputation as one of the top offensive teams in the Southeast but nationally as well, the Eagles finished 11th in the country hitting 143 doubles. Georgia Southern ranked among the top 15 percent nationally in scoring (7.1 runs per game) and home runs (61). Tidick coached seven players that batted.300 or better.
Working with an offensive line-up that had at times six freshmen starting, the 2006 squad hit .304 overall with an on-base percentage of nearly .400. The impressive list of offensive numbers goes on: seven starters hit .300 or better, Matt Miller earned Freshman All-America honors, Greg Dowling finished his career as First Team All-Southern Conference and among the Georgia Southern career offensive leaders, two other freshmen were candidates for Freshman All-America accolades and two players were nationally-ranked in walks per game. Georgia Southern hitters struck out 360 times in 2006, the third-lowest total dating back the last 18 years.
Ever since his first assistant coaching job (at Elon in 1997), Tidick has never had a team hit lower than .295 in a season.
Tidick oversaw another stellar offensive production as the Eagles hit .331 during the 2005 campaign, the fifth-highest team batting average in the nation and third-best in Southern history.
Prior to 2005, nine Eagles batted .400 for the season and never during the same year. That changed when James Payne (.407) and Greg Dowling (.400) accomplished the feat. Jason Hurst put together the second and third longest hitting streak in Eagle history, 25 consecutive from his junior year into senior season, then 24 later in his final year.
Not only do Tidick’s players have impressive batting averages, they rarely strike out. Dowling (20th), Brent Stephens (29th) and Payne (100th) ranked among the 2005 national leaders in toughest to strikeout.
The Eagles also ranked 11th nationally in slugging percentage, 22nd in doubles, 25th in scoring and 47th in stolen bases. The 139 doubles and 1,077 total bases both ranked at the time as the second-most in the GSU record book.
During the 2004 campaign, the Eagles ranked 23rd out of 285 NCAA Division I teams in scoring, averaging 7.8 runs per game. GSU was 33rd nationally with its .315 team batting average and finished among the ‘Top 100’ in six other statistical categories.
Tidick displayed why he has earned that impressive label as he helped guide the 2003 Southern offense, despite losing its top five hitters from the previous season, to a team .307 batting average - tied for tops in the SoCon - and scored 445 runs, second only to Western Carolina.
The 2002 Eagle team was similarly impressive. Georgia Southern completed the campaign ranked in the ‘Top 30’ in the nation in hitting at .321, a mark that at the time ranked third on the Eagles’ season record list. The Eagles were also ranked sixth nationally in stolen bases with 151, breaking a GS record that had stood for 27 years.
The 2001 squad ranked third in history in at-bats, runs scored, and RBI while also ranking among the top five in hits (fourth), doubles (fourth) and total bases (fifth). On top of that the Eagles finished just 14 stolen bases shy of breaking the school mark.
Tidick joined Georgia Southern during the summer shortly after coach Rodney Hennon’s arrival in 1999 after spending the two previous seasons at his alma mater Western Carolina working on Hennon’s coaching staff.
Upon inheriting just four regulars off of Georgia Southern’s offensive lineup from the 1999 season, Tidick began to meticulously work on fostering a new aggressive approach which helped translate into a Southern Conference championship.
The statistical results were equally impressive. The Eagles turned in a batting average over .300 for only the third time in the previous 10 years, hit 60 or more home runs for only third time in nine years and endured the fewest strikeouts in seven seasons.
“Mike is certainly a quality coach and a quality person,” said Hennon. “He’s a big asset to our program, coordinating our recruiting efforts. In addition, he is responsible for our outfield play and hitting, an area where he has a proven track record. We have a good feel and know what to expect out of each other.”
In 1998, he helped guide the Catamounts to a 45-15 overall record which equaled the school standard, and a 20-6 SoCon mark. Western Carolina followed up the 1998 season with a 36-23-1 mark, boasting to have the SoCon’s top offensive squad with league bests in average (.328), on-base percentage (.523), runs (502), hits (684), home runs (82), and runs batted in (445).
Prior to his move to Cullowhee, Tidick spent the 1997 season as an assistant coach at Elon after serving in a similar capacity at Coastal Carolina in 1996.
Another testament to Tidick’s coaching abilities can be traced to the number of draft picks. During the past 10 years, 14 players were drafted or signed a free agent contract, including Atlanta Braves’ Charles Thomas. Dowling was a 19th round draft pick by the Oakland As in 2006. Tidick also worked with the SoCon ‘Player of the Year’ three consecutive years: the Catamounts’ Martin Barrow in 1998 and Chris Moore in ’99 then Georgia Southern’s Matt Easterday in 2000.
Tidick first arrived at Western Carolina in 1989 after an illustrious career at Union-Endicott (N.Y.) High School. After sitting out all of WCU’s 1990 campaign following surgery, he turned in the first of four consecutive .300-plus hitting seasons when he batted .302 his rookie season.
As the Catamounts’ everyday centerfielder in 1992, he was named Second Team All-Southern Conference hitting .328 and stealing 21 bases while helping WCU advance all the way to the NCAA South II Regional title game.
He led Western Carolina back to a NCAA Regional (South I) as a junior, earning SoCon All-Tournament Team honors in 1993 after his average jumped to .352 with 19 doubles and 13 home runs.
Tidick topped off an outstanding collegiate career in ‘94 as he was named Southern Conference ‘Player of the Year’ by batting .376 with 15 home runs, 17 doubles, 58 RBI and 20 stolen bases. In addition, he played errorless defense as the Catamounts received an at-large bid to the NCAA East Regional.
Even to this day, Tidick still ranks among the Catamounts’ season and career leaders. On the season ‘Top 10’ list, he is tied for fourth in games started (64), tied for 10th in triples (4), tied for first in fielding percentage (1.000). Among the career leaders Tidick stands in a tie for second in games played (233), second in stolen bases (63), eights in at-bats (782), seventh in hits (270), tied for sixth in doubles (54), 10th in home runs (34), 11th in RBI (158) and ninth in hit by pitches (23). He paced Western’s offense in eight different offensive categories throughout his career.
Upon leaving Western Carolina, he ranked fourth in hits (270), seventh in RBI (158), third in doubles (54) and second in stolen bases on Western Carolina’s all-time career list.
Among the Southern Conference leaders, Tidick stands 18th all-time in hits.
After graduating from WCU in 1994 with a degree in Secondary Education, Tidick signed a professional contract with the Chicago White Sox and subsequently played in the Gulf Coast League (Sarasota, Fla.) and South Atlantic League (Hickory, N.C.) in 1994 and 1995, respectively.
Tidick is married to the former Lori Bingham of Cherryville, N.C. They are the parents of a son Ty (9) and daughter Lorin Elizabeth (5).
- Category: Baseball
- Published on Sunday, 23 September 2007 00:03