B.A., M.A., Rollins College
Mention Methodist University baseball and the consistent success it has enjoyed through the years, and one has to look no further than the man behind that success - Tom Austin. For more than a quarter of century now, it has been nothing short of excellence on the diamond.
After 35 years as head baseball coach at Methodist, Austin sports a 1,054-473-9 career record, and is only the sixth coach in the history of NCAA Division III baseball to reach the 1,000-win plateau. Austin’s teams have never won fewer than 22 games in a season. Included in that are 17 30-win seasons and two 40-win seasons. Currently, the Monarchs have enjoyed 33 straight 20-win seasons under Austin. He is currently sixth overall among all-time NCAA Division III head coaches and fourth among active Division III head coaches in victories.
Austin has elevated the Monarch baseball program to one of the best in NCAA Division III. During his tenure at Methodist, he has guided the Monarchs to six NCAA Division III College World Series (1986, 1988, 1991, 1992, 1995, 1996), finishing no lower than fifth. Their best finish occurred in the 1995 season, when the Monarchs wound up as the NCAA Division III runners-up.
Under Austin’s guidance, Methodist has tallied 20 Dixie Intercollegiate/USA South Athletic Conference (DIAC) championships, six NCAA Division III South Regional titles and 21 NCAA Division III National Tournament berths. Methodist has also earned recognition as the country’s top-ranked NCAA Division III team on three different occasions, including the 2002 season. Under Austin’s watch, the Monarchs have averaged an impressive 31 victories a season, a true model of consistency and success.
The Monarchs have molded this success playing baseball the Tom Austin way – pure fundamentals and playing smart. Austin has always prided his teams on strong pitching, sharp defense, consistent hitting and getting the most out of every player.
In addition, Methodist wins by getting the little things done, like running the bases and moving runners into scoring position. Austin’s teams have consistently been one of the best in the USA South in stolen bases. His 1986 squad set an NCAA Division III single-season record for stolen bases with 334. That same team also set the NCAA Division III single-season record for walks with 440.
Austin’s accomplishments have earned him numerous coaching honors during his career. He has been selected the Dixie Intercollegiate/USA South Athletic Conference Coach of the Year ten times, the NCAA Division III South Region Coach of the Year seven times in 11 years and the North Carolina College Coach of the Year twice.
In addition to producing championship teams at Methodist, Austin has also molded many a dynamic player at Methodist. A total of 29 players under Austin have garnered NCAA Division III All-American honors, and 129 players have been selected first team All-Dixie Intercollegiate/USA South Athletic Conference.
The influence of Austin is felt on a national level as he is creating a coaching tree of former assistant coaches and players who are now head coaches at the collegiate level. The most notables include former assistant coach Jim Peeples (head coach at Piedmont) and former player Paul Knight (head coach at Lenoir-Rhyne).
A native of Philadelphia, Pa., Austin attended Seminole Community College in Sanford, Fla., where he was an All-Florida Conference outfielder and set the state junior college stolen base record. While at Seminole, Austin played for former University of Florida and University of Central Florida head coach Jay Bergman. From there, Austin transferred to Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla., where he played outfield for the Tars under the late Boyd Coffie and received his bachelor’s degree in history in 1972. He then earned his master’s degree in education from Rollins in 1976.
Prior to his position at Methodist, Austin served as football and baseball coach at his high school alma mater - Bishop Moore High School in Orlando, Fla., from 1973-79. Austin lives in Fayetteville with his wife Jill and two sons, Christian and Jacob. His oldest son, Doug, is a police officer with the Fayetteville Police Department.