Mark Kingston, the head coach of the Illinois State baseball team, has decided to leave ISU in order to continue his coaching career as the head baseball coach at the University of South Florida.
Kingston took over the Redbird baseball program in 2009, when the team had posted a losing record in seven of its past eight seasons. He finished his Redbird career with a record of 173-102 and a 33-22 record in his last season.
“It’s bittersweet, no question.” Kingston told the Pantagraph. “It’s been an honor to coach here. I think we made some great strides.”
Kingston managed two Missouri Valley Conference regular season titles, one NCAA tournament appearance, and was named Valley Coach of the Year twice.
“Mark has done everything we asked him to and probably a little bit more regarding our baseball program,” ISU director of athletics, Larry Lyons told the Pantagraph. “There is no question he’s elevated our baseball program to the level we expect it to be. Mark has been great to work with, and we congratulate him on the new opportunity.”
Bo Durkac, Associate head coach, has expressed interests in filling the head coaching vacancy.
“We will see where the search process takes us. We’re just getting geared up. We’ll get organized and start our process. I hope we can move quickly, but I can’t say we have a definitive time line.” Lyons told the Pantagraph.
In addition to Kingston’s Valley accomplishments, he adds to his legacy a team of talented players, a record six of which were selected in the Major League baseball draft this past weekend. Jeremy Rhoades and Brock Stewart, both pitchers, were drafted Friday. Dylan Craig, Dan Savas, Mike Hollenbeck, and Paul DeJong were selected Saturday.
Rhoades’ fourth round selection by the Los Angeles Angels makes him the highest drafted Redbird since pitcher Neal Cotts was drafted in the second round of the 2001 draft. Rhoades compiled a 6-4 record with a 2.35 ERA helping him receive All-MVC Honorable Mention honors this past season.
All of the redbirds drafted, with the exception of Hollenbeck, have the option to sign with the teams that drafted them or return to Illinois State with their new coach for the 2015 season.