Former Tusculum College standout Todd Ireland begins his 21st year on the baseball coaching staff at his alma mater in the fall of 2019.
He served nine years as an assistant and was promoted to the post of Associate Head Coach in December 2008. Coach Ireland works with the Pioneer pitchers and catchers as well as serving as head coach of the Tusculum junior varsity program. He also serves as the field maintenance coordinator for Pioneer Park.
The 1998 Tusculum graduate returned to Greeneville before the 2002 season, after serving as an administrative assistant at NCAA Division I Eastern Kentucky University.
Ireland served on the TU staff from 1998-2000 where he helped develop the junior varsity program as well as serving as pitching coach.
During his tenure at Tusculum, the Pioneers have posted a 614-353-1 record. Over his last 16 seasons, the Pioneers have a 546-298-1 mark that includes five South Atlantic Conference championships, four SAC Tournament titles and seven trips to the NCAA Division II Tournament. During that 16-year span, his pitching staff has accounted for a 3.89 earned run average.
The Pioneers have finished in the top-50 on six occasions in team ERA, including three straight years in the top-10 from 2007-09. The 2007 squad went 50-14 while tallying a school record 2.73 ERA, which was the third-lowest in the country (NCAA II) that season. The 2008 squad finished 10th in the land with a 3.40 ERA and followed that with a 3.37 ERA in 2009 (7th in NCAA II). In 2016, led by DII consensus national pitcher of the year Placido Torres, the Pioneer staff posted a 3.01 ERA which was sixth in the nation, including a school record nine shutouts (2nd in NCAA II).
Since 2003, Ireland has mentored five All-American pitchers, 11 All-Region standouts and 18 All-South Atlantic Conference honorees. Five of his hurlers were named the SAC Pitcher of the Year, including Brent Gabel (2005), Kevin Hammons (2007), C.J. Hillyer (2009), Craig Goodman (2012), Placido Torres (2016) and Charles Hall (2019).
Pitchers Brian Lovett (2003) and Mat Galens (2004) earned SAC Freshman of the Year accolades in back-to-back campaigns. In the conference postseason, 16 pitchers have garnered SAC All-Tournament distinction, while on 25 occasions a Tusculum player was tabbed the SAC Pitcher of the Week.
Coach Ireland also mentored Tusculum right-hander Taylor Rakes from 2009-13 as the Norcross, Ga. native accounted for one of the most successful pitching careers by a Pioneer. Rakes also shined as one of the finest student-athletes in College history, earning the SAC Presidents Award in consecutive years (2011-12; 2012-13). It is the highest honor bestowed by the league to its student-athletes, recognizing athletic accomplishment, academic achievement and community service. The two-time SAC Baseball Scholar Athlete of the Year also earned spot on the Capital One NCAA Division II Baseball Academic All-America® first team (2012 & 2013). In 2013, he was also selected as the Capital One Baseball Academic All-American® of the Year, a first by any Tusculum student-athlete. He was later the recipient of the Division II Collegiate Conference Commissioners Southeast Region Scholar Athlete of the Year (2012-13).
Ireland was a standout third baseman and catcher on the Tusculum diamond for two years. From 1996-97, the Burlington, Ontario, Canada native posted a .322 batting average and 35 RBI. His 16 career sacrifice hits are seventh best in school history. He also holds the school single-game record scoring five runs against King in 1996. The 13 bunts he laid down in 1997 were a school record at the time.
In his senior season, he garnered All-Tennessee-Virginia Athletic Conference recognition. Coach Ireland also excelled in the classroom where he was a member of the Dean’s List and the Charles Oliver Gray honors list for four semesters.
Ireland originally came to the Greeneville campus from Grand Rapids Community College where he was a two-time All-State honoree.
An exceptional athlete, his prep experience included being named to the All-Provincial team at M.M. Robinson High School. He was tabbed to the Canadian Championship All-Tournament team as a catcher. He also shined on the frozen field as he was drafted in 1990 by Sudbury Wolves in junior hockey.
Coach Ireland is also an instructor in the College’s physical education department and is a member of the American Baseball Coaches Association.