ROWDY HARDY | ASSISTANT COACH
Rowdy Hardy was named the pitching coach for the Arkansas State baseball program on Monday, July 17, 2017.
The 2018 campaign saw the A-State pitching staff allow 486 hits, the fewest amount of hits in the Tommy Raffo era, and two pitchers (Peyton Culbertson and Bradey Welsh) earn a chance to play at the next level. Hardy helped Culbertson put together his best season at Arkansas State with a team-best 3.73 ERA as he shifted to a bullpen role during the middle of the season and was drafted by the Miami Marlins in the eighth round of the 2018 MLB Draft. Additionally, Welsh took a strong leap forward with his best season in a Red Wolves' uniform with a 4.14 ERA and team-high 70 strikeouts against 19 walks in 82.2 innings and inked a free-agent deal with the Atlanta Braves after the season.
The Red Wolves pitching staff accumulated 22 quality starts during 2018 after registering only 10 the season before and Nate Alberius became the first A-State pitcher to toss multiple complete games in a season since Daniel Wright in 2013. The team had seven saves on the year with Jesse Kutzke posting three before Bo Ritter, another pitcher who tallied his best season under Hardy's leadership, became the anchor in the bullpen and locked down four saves. All in all, the staff struck out 363 batters and walked 239.
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.
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.
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).
Hardy is married to his wife, Megan, and the couple has two daughters, Bea and Ripken, and one son, Inning.