Russ McNickle was named head baseball coach at Saint Leo University on June 23, 2008 and is currently in his fourth season with the Lions.
McNickle has a strong coaching resume on a variety of levels of collegiate baseball over the past 19 seasons. During his time at Mississippi State the Bulldogs won an SEC Tournament Championship (2005), and made three NCAA regional tournament appearances (2004, 2005 & 2006). Mississippi State also won the Super Regional title and reached the College World Series in 2007.
The Mobile, Ala., native began his coaching career as a graduate assistant coach at Mississippi State University in 1989 and 1990. The Bulldogs advanced to NCAA tournament competition both seasons, winning a share of the 1990 SEC Tournament championship in Hoover, Ala., before advancing to the prestigious NCAA College World Series in Omaha.
McNickle coached the next 10 seasons in Florida with a two-year stint (1991-92) as an assistant to Dr. Roger Martinsen at Central Florida Community College in Ocala. In 1993 he joined the staff at Sunshine State Conference foe Florida Southern College. During a six-year term (1993-1998), McNickle helped direct the Moccasins to a 265-84 mark, five NCAA post-season appearances, three Sunshine State Conference titles and a pair of berths in the NCAA Division II College World Series. Florida Southern won the National Title at the 1995 CWS in Montgomery, Ala., after claiming runner-up honors in 1994. 15 FSC players earned All-American status, two earned ABCA National Player of the Year honors and 28 players were selected in the Major League Baseball Draft.
His coaching career continued at the University of South Florida, where he served as pitching coach and top assistant in 1999 and 2000. Following the 2000 campaign, McNickle returned to Mississippi, this time as head coach at Meridian Community College. His 2001 MCC Eagles club posted a 38-16 record and claimed the Miss-Lou Conference championship.
McNickle's resume also includes past summer collegiate baseball league coaching stints in both the Cape Cod League and the Valley Baseball League. He's also made numerous appearances at clinics and summer baseball camps.
McNickle earned All-State honors during his prep baseball career at Mobile Christian High School. He continued his playing career at Patrick Henry State Junior College in Monroeville, Ala., in 1984 and 1985 before earning his bachelor's degree at the University of South Alabama in 1988. He earned his Master's degree from Mississippi State University in 1990.
McNickle, who directed the Mississippi State baseball team's weekly devotional, was honored prior to the 2005 SEC Baseball Tournament in Hoover, Ala., as the Fellowship of Christian Athletes' Coach of the Year.
McNickle and his wife, Robin, have a son, Trey, a pitcher for St. Petersburg College, and one daughter, Jordan.