JONESBORO, Ark. (7/17/17) – Arkansas State head baseball coach Tommy Raffo announced the hiring of former New Mexico Military Institute pitching coach Rowdy Hardy to the same position at A-State Monday afternoon.
Hardy began his coaching career at NMMI in July 2012 and has spent the last five seasons with the Broncos under head coach and former A-State assistant coach Chris Cook. Prior to his time at NMMI he completed a six-year stint in the minor leagues split between the Kansas City Royals and Atlanta Braves organizations.
“We are real excited Rowdy Hardy will be our pitching coach for Red Wolves Baseball,” said Raffo. “He brings a great combination of a brilliant Division I baseball career at Austin Peay and a successful professional baseball experience as a player. Under his tutelage at New Mexico Military Institute he developed and managed a pitching staff that helped NMMI to its best records in program history. We welcome Rowdy and his family to the Jonesboro and A-State community.”
A native of Bethel Springs, Tenn., Hardy has helped over 80 percent of New Mexico Military Institute players continue their careers after playing at the junior college located in Roswell, N.M., with 22 going on to compete for Division I schools. He helped pitchers Jeremy Mortensen (2014) and Carlos Ortiz (2016) earn First-Team All-Conference honors, while another 10 earned honorable mention selections during his tenure including Parker Bateman in 2017.
“I am truly excited and honored to have the opportunity to become a part of Arkansas State baseball,” Hardy said. “I have always envisioned coaching in a program that is well respected and has the right atmosphere to compete at a high level. Coach Raffo has, for many years, developed a program that exemplifies both of those qualities. I look forward to continuing the tradition of Red Wolves baseball.”
Additionally, the 2016 version Broncos went to the NJCAA Region V tournament for the program's first regional appearance since 1961. The team picked up 28 victories with 22 coming in the Western Junior College Athletic Conference (WJCAC), both of which are school records. Hardy's pitchers set the walk-to-strikeout ratio school record in 2016 after setting records for saves, strikeouts, strikeouts per inning in the 2015 campaign.
Hardy enjoyed a successful minor league career with the Kansas City Royals in 2006 after completing his collegiate career at Austin Peay. The left-handed pitcher registered a 40-32 record in his career with a 3.30 ERA with 403 strikeouts against 121 walks in 648.2 innings. He was named the Royals' Organizational Pitcher of the Year in 2007 after posting a 15-5 record with a 2.48 ERA in 167 innings with 91 punch outs against 16 free passes for Class-A Advanced Wilmington.
He advanced to Double-A with the Royals before being selected by the Braves in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 Draft prior to the 2011 season. He played most of the season in Double-A, but did throw 7.2 scoreless innings for Triple-A Gwinnett before his career came to a close.
The hurler enjoyed a fantastic career for Austin Peay during his collegiate years from 2004-06 as evidenced by his induction into the APSU Hall of Fame in 2016. Hardy's name can be found on the Governors' Top 10 season and career lists 21 times with top marks in wins (32) and walks per nine innings (1.74). Additionally, the 32 victories are the most in Ohio Valley Conference history.
Hardy was named the 2004 OVC Rookie of the Year and was a Louisville Slugger Third-Team All-American selection that season. He followed his sophomore campaign with a Second-Team All-American nod and led the Governors to their first NCAA Tournament bid since 1996. He concluded his career with another All-OVC selection as a senior and posted his career-best ERA (2.58).For the latest on A-State baseball follow the team by logging onto the Arkansas State Baseball Facebook page or by following the team on Twitter (@ASTATEBaseball) and Instagram (arkansasstatebaseball).