LEXINGTON, Ky. – Todd Guilliams, who has an extensive history of coaching outstanding hitters during his career, has joined the Kentucky baseball staff, head coach Nick Mingione announced Wednesday.
“Coach Guilliams has coached at the collegiate level for 28 seasons and has been a part of every facet of baseball – coaching catchers, infielders, outfielders, hitters and calling pitches,” Mingione said. “His overall wealth of knowledge will be invaluable.
“I’ve known Coach Guilliams since he began recruiting me in 1995. He’s a faithful man, a family man. He’s been a winner everywhere he’s been, he’s a developer of players and, even more important, a developer of men.
“When I began the process of putting together our staff, I was looking for someone who could make our players better in every aspect of life, on and off the field. Coach Guilliams has an unmatched track record of developing people as well as players. We could not be more excited to welcome his wife, Julie, and Casey, Grace and Wyatt to the Wildcat family.”
Guilliams and Mingione first became associated at Embry-Riddle University, where Guilliams (pronounced “GWILL-iams,” rhymes with Williams) coached during Mingione’s playing days.
Guilliams comes to Kentucky after one season at Western Carolina, where he was the hitting coach and ran the offense, in addition to coaching the catchers. In 2016, the WCU offense ranked in the nation’s top 25 teams in batting average (.304, 24th in the nation), runs scored (453 runs, 18th) and home runs (72 HR, 9th).
Individually, first baseman Matt Smith hit .388 with 10 home runs and 55 RBI while being named second-team All-Atlantic Region by the American Baseball Coaches Association. Outfielder Bryson Bowman hit .326 with 19 homers and 60 RBI and was selected third-team All-America by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association and second-team All-Atlantic Region.
The Catamounts’ potent attack led the team to the Southern Conference Tournament championship and a berth in the NCAA Tournament. Smith, Bowman, catcher Danny Bermudez and outfielder Kramer Ferrell earned All-SoCon honors. Bowman and outfielder Garrett Brown were selected in the 2016 major-league draft by the New York Yankees and Pittsburgh, respectively.
Guilliams went to WCU from Valdosta State, where he was part of more than 250 wins, three NCAA regional appearances and two Gulf South Conference championships during his eight seasons there (2008-15).
During his time at Valdosta State, Guilliams was the team’s hitting coach, worked with the catchers and was VSU’s Coordinator of Academic Services. He also shared recruiting duties with his brother, head coach Greg Guilliams.
Valdosta State posted a pair of 43-win seasons during Guilliams’ time on staff, doing so in 2009 and 2010. In addition to those two seasons, the Blazers also made the NCAA Tournament in 2013 after their second GSC title.
One of the banner seasons for Guilliams came in 2009 as the team led the nation with a school-record 113 home runs — the fourth-most in NCAA Division II history. The Blazers finished eighth nationally with 578 runs scored and were 11th with a .561 slugging percentage. As a squad, Guilliams guided the Valdosta State batters to a .332 batting average, the highest mark by the Blazers since 1986. Guilliams’ approach of plate discipline was also manifested as VSU drew 276 walks on the year, ninth-best in the nation. Overall, the 2009 Valdosta State squad ranked in the top 50, out of 228 schools, in 14 of the 15 offensive categories tracked by the NCAA.
Guilliams’ ability to teach the offensive side of the ball also was evident in the personal performance of a pair of Blazers, Brandon Decker and Chase Blackwood, who hit 22 home runs on the year, falling just one short of the school record. Four additional Blazers hit double-digit home runs, giving the 2009 squad a school-record six to accomplish the feat in a single season, while Decker and Matt Costello both hit over .400 on the year.
Guilliams’ attack followed up with one of the best offenses in the nation in 2010. The VSU hitters ranked among the top 10 teams in the nation in three different categories — finishing eighth in runs with 555, seventh in hits with 717 and second in hit by pitch with 119. The Blazers batted a school-record .351 while scoring 9.3 runs per game, the 14th highest total in the nation.
Prior to making the move to Valdosta, Guilliams and his brother built a powerhouse at Embry-Riddle University, an NAIA institution in Daytona Beach, Fla. Together they won 622 games, against just 228 losses, in 15 years at the school and made six NAIA World Series appearances. Todd served as the hitting, catching and outfield instructor for the program, which produced 44 NAIA All-America selections. He was also responsible for calling pitches and serving as the program’s strength and conditioning coach while filling the role as Embry-Riddle’s athletic fields manager for the school’s baseball, track and field and soccer complex. Additionally, he spent time as the school’s sports information director as well as the academic enhancement coordinator.
One of Guilliams’ players at Embry-Riddle was new UK head coach Nick Mangione, who played at ERU from 1997-2000. In 2014, the Guilliams brothers were both inducted into the Embry-Riddle Hall of Fame, the first coaches to enter the school’s honorary hall.
Todd’s run at Embry-Riddle was interrupted as he spent the 2000 season as an assistant with Dallas Baptist. During his year with the Patriots, the team registered a 43-23 record and advanced to the NAIA World Series, finishing second.
All totaled, Guilliams has a 1,065-501 record (.680) in 28 years as a collegiate assistant coach. He has been a part of championships at all five schools he coached – Eastern Kentucky (1989), Embry-Riddle (1995, ’96, ’99, 2002-06), Dallas Baptist (2000), Valdosta State (2008, ’10 and ’13) and Western Carolina (2016). He was able to spend 23 of those seasons coaching alongside his brother, Greg, between both Valdosta State and Embry-Riddle.
Todd Guilliams began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Eastern Kentucky in 1989 and 1990. He also spent three seasons as an assistant coach with the Staunton Braves of the collegiate Valley League (1990-92) while also serving as a volunteer assistant with EKU in 1991.
A 1988 graduate of Eastern Kentucky, earning a degree in sport supervision, Guilliams was an Ohio Valley Conference Scholar-Athlete and twice won the Turkey Hughes Scholarship. He was the Colonels’ team captain in 1988 while earning Dean’s List recognition. He went on to earn his master’s degree in physical education in 1990 while serving as an assistant at his alma mater.
Off the field, Guilliams authored a book entitled High-Scoring Baseball: The Complete Guide to Run Production. He has also been a featured speaker numerous times, including at the ABCA national convention and, most recently, at the Best Ever Coaches Clinic in Toronto in January, 2016.
“When it comes to making this kind of decision, it’s all about where you work, who you work for and who you work with,” Guilliams said. “I’d heard about Mitch Barnhart, his character and how he runs the athletic department. Coach Mingione is a people person, a man of character. It’s exciting to be around him, he has a great positive attitude. When you put those together it couldn’t be a better place.”
Todd and his wife, the former Julie Dudgeon, are originally from Newark, Ohio. They have three children – Casey, Grace and Wyatt.