SAINT LEO, Fla. – Russ McNickle, who was to start his fifth season at the helm of the Saint Leo University baseball team in February, has submitted his letter of resignation to take a position in Major League Baseball within the San Diego Padres organization.
"A few times throughout my career I have been approached about working on the professional side of the game," McNickle said. "I was honored about those discussions and very humbled to have even been asked. This fall, I was approached again about the opportunity of working with Major League Baseball. I have been offered and just accepted a position with the San Diego Padres organization."
McNickle, who went 83-121 in his four years at Saint Leo, will take a résumé of coaching knowledge to San Diego as he has experience with NCAA Division I and II as well as community college teams. In his time at Saint Leo he was able to bring tradition to Lions Baseball, developing "Opening Night with the Lions", an annual fundraising dinner to kick-start the baseball season along with the annual Blood Bowl that was known for its positive community impact.
His 2012 team finished a win below .500 (22-23) in a season that started very promising. Starting 19-11, the Lions hit a tough home-stretch capped off with an extra-inning loss to Lynn University in the season's final game. That would ultimately be the final game of McNickle's coaching career at Saint Leo.
"Saint Leo wants to thank Russ for leading the young men in our baseball program over the last four years," said Saint Leo University Director of Athletics Fran Reidy. "We wish him all the best with the Padres organization."
In addressing his players, McNickle stated, "I am very excited about the development of the Saint Leo University baseball program and the strides we have made since our arrival on campus in July 2008. I strongly believe in this team, the experience of this team, the senior leadership of this team, and the successes that are waiting for this team."