Austin Peay State University welcomed Roland Fanning, the university’s 12th head baseball coach, at Raymond C. Hand Park on Thursday. RICKY BIRCHFIELD|THE ALL STATE

Austin Peay State University Athletics officially welcomed Roland Fanning as the university’s 12th head baseball coach on Thursday afternoon on Maynard Field at Raymond C. Hand Park. Coach Fanning brings 15 seasons of experience as an assistant coach and was the Director of Player Development for the Oklahoma State Cowboys. 

APSU President Micheal Licari was the first to speak, formally welcoming Coach Fanning to the Austin Peay family. “Austin Peay baseball has a long history and tradition of excellence, and the road back to that success runs straight through coach Fanning, his staff, and his team,” said Licari.

“When you get an opportunity like this, it’s because someone believed in you. Someone wanted to give you a shot. Your shot,” said Fanning. “There is nobody else that will give the amount of energy, effort, and enthusiasm as I will for this place.” 

APSU Athletics Director Gerald Harrison has emphasized APSU’s mantra to “level up” in preparation for the move to the ASUN Conference. Harrison explained that finding the right baseball coach was an important step towards this goal and there was no shortage of belief from Harrison that Fanning is the correct choice.

Harrison believes that Fanning’s connections throughout college baseball were deep, and could help APSU baseball access talent previously out of reach. Harrison also has praised Fanning’s energy, especially as the Athletics Department focuses on revitalizing the community surrounding APSU baseball.

“I’ve seen pictures and heard the stories of when this place was packed and people had the brooms out, and the music was loud, and players were having fun and we want that,” said Harrison.

Fanning explained the core values of his coaching program, which involve the students to excel in the classroom, be involved in the community of Clarksville and on campus, compete for championships, and graduate well prepared to be leaders. 

Described as an evaluator and recruiter by Harrison, Fanning has plans to recruit throughout the state, region, and country and it will all be a relentless effort. The real challenge will be finding players with the right character both on and off the team. 

“It’s the character of the kid, it’s the makeup of the kid. How good of a teammate he is, how good he is up and down the hallways, how he is to his teammates,” said Fanning. “It’s making sure you get the right character and the makeup of the human being in the locker room.”

With Harrison and Fanning both emphasizing player development on and off the field, community excitement for the team and hopes for a prosperous season, Coach Fanning and his team are ready to work hard to help the Govs make a splash as the school moves to the ASUN Conference.

“Austin Peay and Clarksville Tennessee is about to get the very best I got,” said Fanning “I’m going to give you everything I’ve got, and so will any player that puts on this uniform.”