STEUBENVILLE - Director of athletics, Mike Holmes, announced today the hiring of Rick Carver as the head coach for the newly revitalized baseball program at Franciscan University of Steubenville. Carver joins Franciscan after a prolific 29-year career at nearby Bethany College.
"I am honored to be the new head baseball coach at Franciscan," remarked Carter. "I would like to thank the search committee and athletic director Mike Holmes for entrusting me to build a faith-based, first-class program from the ground up."
"When we began the search for a person to lead our baseball program, I had a profile of the ideal candidate in mind; however, I never expected that we would find a coach who would surpass my perception of a best-case hire, which is what we get with Rick Carver," commented Holmes on his new Baron baseball coach.
Carver, no stranger to the Ohio Valley and DIII athletics, served as the head coach at Bethany College since 1990. With the Bison, Carver amassed 448 wins, the most wins for a coach in school and Presidents' Athletic Conference history, and was named the PAC Coach of the Year five times, most recently in 2014. Carver led the Bison to four outright PAC titles and eight first-place regular season finishes in his time at Bethany. In addition, the Bison appeared in five ECAC championship tournaments under Carver.
Carver recruited and coached the first All-America honoree for the Bison and has guided 105 players to All-PAC honors including seven MVP selections. Nine players under Carver have been inducted into Bethany's Hall of Fame and 60 Bison have earned national recognition by Collegiate Baseball Magazine.
Personally, Carver has received numerous awards from coaching organizations for his excellence in coaching, the most recent being the Louisville Silver Slugger Award for Championship Level Coaching in 2004.
"I am greatly impressed by what I have seen at Franciscan to date," said Carver. "Its outstanding reputation for academics and true belief and practical application of its mission made this quite desirable for me. You only have to be around Mike Holmes for five minutes to see that his vision for building a competitive athletic department is compatible with the mission of this great institution. I can't wait to be a part of that."
Carver comes to Franciscan to revitalize its baseball program that took a hiatus after the 2011 season. Baseball was one of the original varsity sports at Franciscan from the 1950s -1980s and one of the original varsity teams in 2006 when Franciscan entered the NCAA Division III as provisional members. In its final season before the hiatus, the Barons went 6-25 and 4-14 in the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference.
Holmes announced the return of baseball and the addition of women's golf in July 2018. The two sports will bring Franciscan's varsity sports sponsorship to 18 with 10 women's sports and 8 men's sports.
"I want to thank Bethany College for taking a chance on a 25-year-old guy with a passion for baseball 28 years ago. It tears me up to leave behind players past and present. I wouldn't trade all the money in the world for the memories I've been fortunate enough to have. It is a special place as well," commented Carver. "But the opportunities presented by Franciscan are too great to ignore. I've said many times I'm truly blessed to be able to be a baseball coach and to mold young men. God has given me far more than I deserve and this opportunity to coach at Franciscan University has me grateful and humbled beyond words. I am truly a lucky man."
"The ongoing conversion of our athletes is a non-negotiable at Franciscan, followed by our commitment to academic achievement and then athletic competitiveness," continued Holmes. "I was impressed with how Rick embraced these priorities and had a specific plan for the advancement of each when we discussed the position with him. He consistently demonstrated the value of what many years of experience do for you in this profession."
Carver, a Wintersville, Ohio, resident, will begin his duties as head baseball coach on October 1 and spend the 2018-19 academic year recruiting and scheduling. The Barons will take the field for the first time under Carver in the spring of 2020.