No name is more connected to the University of Mobile’s (UM) athletic program than that of Mike Jacobs.
He started the Rams’ baseball program from scratch in 1990 and he has remained at the helm since then. These efforts have helped him earn induction into the Alabama Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
While many coaches with these accomplishments might be planning for retirement, UM officials have called on Jacobs once again. On July 1, he took over as athletic director for the Rams.
“What impresses me most is his belief that he is not only coaching players to win a ballgame, he is coaching young men to be winners in life,” said University of Mobile President Lonnie Burnett. “He sets high standards for himself and inspires those around him to pursue excellence in all areas of their own lives as well. He is personally invested in the success of his players and in the university’s Christ-centered mission.”
UM has one of the largest athletic programs in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and the Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC). The Rams field 18 varsity sports with about 425 student-athletes.
Jacobs has coached all 30 seasons since the Rams baseball program was established. In 2011, the UM baseball field was named Mike Jacobs Field in his honor.
Currently, he has earned 993 wins and is 10th among active coaches in career wins in the NAIA. He led the Rams to three seasons of 40 or more total wins, and reached the 30-win plateau 17 times. He guided the Rams to seven conference championships and a berth in the 2001 NAIA World Series.
Jacobs will continue as the Rams’ baseball coach while also handling the athletic director duties. Following the announcement, he said his goal is to help continue to propel the Rams’ athletic program into one the university and community will be proud of and want to support.
“Our program is very competitive,” he said. “We have excellent coaches with some great ideas for the future, and I look forward to listening to them and involving them in decisions as we move forward.”
The UM softball coaches were recently honored by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association as the Regional Coaching Staff of the Year for NAIA Region II. Alison Sellers-Cook, Steve Alcorn and Kirstyn Joiner received the award after the Rams finished 53-13. They won the SSAC regular season and tournament titles while advancing into the NAIA nationals.
Before his career at UM, Jacobs coached six years at UMS-Wright Preparatory School. The Bulldogs won the state title in 1988 and finished second another year. He was inducted into the UMS-Wright Hall of Fame in 2013.
As a college player, Jacobs was a four-year letterman at University of South Alabama under the legendary coach Eddie Stankey. Jacobs was the Jaguars’ leading hitter in 1976 with a .349 batting average and was a member of the 1975 squad that at one point was ranked No. 1 in the nation.
** One of the first major actions by Jacobs was to name Darnell Archey as the UM men’s basketball coach. Archey returns to the Mobile area where he previously served as assistant men’s basketball coach at the University of South Alabama from 2013-2018. Since April 2018, he has been the assistant men’s basketball coach at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas, where the program is ranked the No. 1 free-throw-shooting team in the country.
During his 15-year coaching career, Archey has been part of two National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Final Fours as director of basketball operations from 2009-2013 at Butler University in Indiana, where he worked for current Boston Celtics Head Coach Brad Stevens. His coaching experience includes back-to-back NCAA National Championship games and Final Fours in 2010 and 2011. He has coached four NBA players: Gordon Hayward, Shelvin Mack, Josh McRoberts and Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell, two McDonald’s all-Americans and three academic all-Americans.
** Several members of the University of South Alabama’s softball team have been recognized. Kennedy Cronan of Daphne was named third-team all-region by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association. The freshman was one of two players to start all 49 games this season and the only player to have all of those starts at the same position (shortstop). She batted .324 in those outings, recording 48 hits, 31 runs scored, nine doubles, 11 home runs 38 runs driven in and 90 total bases with a .608 slugging percentage.
Outfielders Brittani Reid and Victoria Ortiz were named to the first-team all-Sun Belt Conference softball teams. Reid ranked among the Sun Belt leaders in several different offensive categories – batting average (.375), slugging percentage (.625), on-base percentage (.474), runs (40), hits (60) and walks (27) – during the 2019 season. Ortiz, a freshman, sits just outside the league leaders in batting average (.357) and home runs (six), while ranking in the top five in slugging percentage (.628 – fourth). Ortiz and Reid led the Sun Belt in doubles (17).
** Spring Hill College catcher Aly Fowler has been named to the NCAA Division II Google Cloud academic all-America softball second-team unit, selected by College Sports Information Directors of America. Fowler earns the honor with a 4.0 grade point average through the fall semester while majoring in biology. She hit .370 in 33 regular season games played (23 starts). She posted a .982 fielding percentage behind the plate, where she split time with Cassidy Mehr. Fowler had 19 runs batted in during the regular season on the way to helping the Badgers earn a berth in the national playoffs as Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference champions.
** The NAIA has honored two members of the University of Mobile’s softball team with all-American honors. Erika Greek has been selected to the second-team unit. The senior leads the Rams in strikeouts, averaging 8.15 per game with 211 on the season, the most of any pitcher in the Southern States Athletic Conference. Greek is fifth in NAIA in earned run average (ERA) at 1.00, allowing only 26 runs all season. Greek appeared in 30 games for the Rams, ending the season with 21 wins, five losses and one save.
Hope Cain has been named to the Honorable Mention roster after recording 25 wins as a pitcher. She ended the season ranked 15th in the country in innings pitched (196), 16th in opponent batting average (.186) and 17th in ERA (1.36) while striking out 106.
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