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Athletics makes smart hiring choices

APSU athletics has made smart moves recently when selecting who to call the shots for each team.

After Ryan Ivey replaced Derek van der Merwe as Director of Athletics in the summer of 2015, APSU began to make several coaching changes that can bring success in athletics to new heights. Yes, it takes time for programs to become acquainted with new head coaches, but given the promising starts coupling with track records for Will Healy, Travis Janssen and Matt Figger, it looks like the Gov’s central office has the future heading in a good direction. After

First, look at Govs football. Under the leadership of Head Coach Healy, APSU has recorded two signing days that ranked first in the Ohio Valley Conference, with the latter being first in all of the Football Championship Series.

In Healy’s first season the Govs scored an average 23 points per game. That is a drastic improvement from the 12-point average under Kirby Cannon in the 2015 season.

Healy was brought in to the Govs program in December 2015, leaving his 7-year role as an assistant coach for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

APSU Athletics continued the trend when hiring Janssen to take over as head coach for Govs Baseball. Janssen was brought in to replace Gary McClure, who earned 847 wins over 27 seasons.

Janssen took Govs baseball to a 17-9 conference record in his first season in charge.

Janssen’s efforts also saw an end to the Govs’ two year postseason absence.

Midway through his second season for the red and white team, his offense is producing with 44 home runs and 190 runs.

Janssen said in 2016 following his hiring that it was “always the goal to become a head coach. To be the guy to make the decisions and be in charge of a program. I always wanted to be a head coach.”

APSU found a gem in Janssen, as the now second year coach brings a plethora of experience to the table. Janssen served as an assistant coach at Jacksonville State, Hawaii and Arkansas.

Janssen also revived Tahlequah, Oklahoma’s Northeastern State.

Janssen turned the Riverhawks into a 25+ win team for four seasons in a row, a large improvement from the 6-33 record he inherited.

The next big pickup performed by APSU athletics was Figger, to replace the legendary Dave Loos, as head men’s basketball coach. Figger was announced as head coach on Monday, April 3.

The new coach comes to APSU from a five-year stint a South Carolina as the assistant head coach and 4 years also serving as recruiting coordinator.

In Figger’s final two years as a member of the Gamecocks’ coaching staff, South Carolina recorded back to back 25+ win campaigns. Included in that is a Final Four finale with South Carolina.

APSU Athletics may not be showing the immediate results from their recent coaching decisions, but looking past baseball’s current standings in eighth in conference, and football’s 26-game losing streak there are pieces of potential rising for the Govs.

Give time for the teams to become acclimated to the changes that go with new coaches, and APSU sports can start to produce.

About Noah Houck

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