Wildcats to Hold Series of Winter Baseball Camps in December
A dynamic recruiter.
Staggering knowledge of the game.
Keen eye for talent.
A dynamic recruiter. Infectious personality. Staggering knowledge of the game. Keen eye for talent.
All of those phrases describe Kentucky assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Brad Bohannon, who is in his 11th season as an assistant coach for the Wildcats.
In his 10 previous seasons, Bohannon has helped dramatically change the landscape of the UK baseball program, annually infusing unprecedented talent into the UK roster.
Widely known in the college ranks as a tireless and aggressive recruiter and considered one of the top assistant coaches in the nation, Bohannon is responsible for evaluating talent and bringing mature and competitive players to campus. In his last 10 years, Bohannon has been directly responsible for recruiting the kind of players who represent the University of Kentucky with class; both on and off the field. In addition to his recruiting responsibilities, Bohannon works with UK's talented crop of outfielders and serves as third-base coach.
A native of Rome, Ga., Bohannon came to UK before the 2004 season after two seasons at Wake Forest, serving as an assistant coach on John Cohen's staff from 2004-08 and as the recruiting coordinator/infield coordinator for Gary Henderson after his hire as head coach in June of 2008.
Bohannon has helped guide the Wildcats through the most successful period in program history during his time in Lexington, with UK boasting the first SEC Championship in program history, the first NCAA Regional held in Lexington and three record-breaking win seasons including 2012's 45-win mark, a program record.
Primarily responsible for identifying and recruiting talent, Bohannon has guided the Wildcats into an era that has produced an unprecedented amount of talent. During his time, a total of 57 UK players have been selected in the MLB Draft or signed as a free agent, a program best. In 2012, nine of Bohannon's recruits were picked in the MLB Draft, a new school record, marking the second-most in the NCAA.
Bohannon's 2013 crop of talent had a total of 15 players that had been drafted in their careers, the second-most in the SEC (Vanderbilt - 18), and ahead of Florida and South Carolina (12). In addition, Bohannon sent nine of his 2013 players to either the Cape Cod League or the USA National Team, tied for the NCAA lead.
During his time as the recruiting coordinator, Bohannon has welcomed the top classes in the 117-year history of the program, as the 2008 group was ranked No. 4 in the nation by Baseball America and his 2009 class was tabbed No. 6 by Collegiate Baseball. Annually, Bohannon's classes are annually ranked among the NCAA's best, as his 2006 class was No. 21, the 2007 class was No. 31 and the 2010 group was tabbed No. 16. His 2012 newcomer group was ranked No. 25 and included the first consensus freshman All-America selections in program history, Austin Cousino and A.J. Reed. The 2013 crop of newcomers on the UK roster was ranked No. 11 by Collegiate Baseball.
Bohannon's 2014 class earned a No. 25 national ranking by Baseball America. The 2012 season was a historic one for the Wildcats, as UK won a school-record 45 games and equaled its best finishes in program history in the SEC and NCAA Tournaments. Cousino and Reed had historic freshman seasons, while Maile helped anchor the explosive UK lineup. UK shattered school-record in all fielding categories in 2012 and Bohannon's outfield shined with five centerfielder skill type players sharing three spots, Adams, Cousino, Cameron Flynn, Lucas Witt and Zac Zellers.
In the 2012 campaign, Bohannon's recruiting prowess showed when Cousino etched his name in the UK freshman annuals by finishing in the top-15 in average, homers, RBI, doubles, walks and steals for a first year player. Cousino's glove recorded a new single-season outfield record of 142 putouts, passing former UK-great centerfielder Antone DeJesus (128).
In addition to Cousino, Bohannon helped to secure fellow freshman All-America two-way star Reed who was an imposing middle of the order bat for the Wildcats, tallying a .300 average with four round-trippers and the second-most RBI on the team with 43. Reed was also the best performer at the dish when going up against a daunting SEC schedule as he finished with the highest batting average (.324) on the squad.
In 2008, Bohannon brought in junior college outfielder Sawyer Carroll, who teamed with local outfielder Collin Cowgill to earn first-team All-America accolades, with Carroll exiting UK with the single-season record for RBI, along with career school records for batting average and on-base percentage. With those recruiting classes have come some of the top performers in the storied history of the program, with Bohannon having great success finding the top junior college players in the nation as immediate-impact performers for UK. In 2006, Bohannon found eventual SEC Player of the Year Ryan Strieby, a first-team All-America infielder, along with slugging catcher Sean Coughlin, who earned first-team All-America honors in 2007 as a senior.
In addition to Carroll, Coughlin and Strieby, Bohannon has had great success in the junior college ranks with 2010 slugging outfielder Lance Ray and 2011 All-SEC third baseman Thomas McCarthy. He has also tapped the junior college pitching market, annually brining in immediate-impact hurlers, including 2010 closer Matt Little, 2011-12 workhorse southpaw Alex Phillips and 2012 set-up righty Tim Peterson.
He has not limited his recruiting prowess to junior college talents however, going nationwide to bring in some of the top performers in school history, including pitching talents Andrew Albers (2005-08), Chris Rusin (2006-09), James Paxton (2008-10), Logan Darnell (2008-11) and 2011 MLB Draft first-round pick Alex Meyer (2009-11). Positionally, Cousino (2012), Brian Adams (2010-12), Chris Bisson (2008-10), Antone DeJesus (2005-07), Chris Wade (2007-09), Ryan Wilkes (2005-08), Michael Williams (2009-12), Luke Maile (2010-12), Chad Wright (2009-11) and J.T. Riddle (2011-12) have helped UK annually welcome a top-ranked recruiting class.
Bohannon had a big hand in turning around a Kentucky program that was the first SEC team ever to go from `worst-to-first' in one year, claiming the school's first SEC Title in 2006. The 2006 campaign saw the Wildcats win a school-record 44 games and host the school's first NCAA Regional Tournament. The 2007 club finished with 34 wins and the 2008 club totaled 44-wins and an appearance in the Ann Arbor NCAA Regional Championship game.
In 2006, Bohannon's effect could be seen in the defensive output of UK's two middle infielders, John Shelby and Ryan Wilkes. The duo combined to turn the most double plays in the SEC, ranking 17th nationally.
Shelby's professional stock soared after being undrafted out of high school, developing into a fifth-round pick in the 2006 MLB draft. Wilkes improved dramatically under Bohannon's tutelage, improving from a .900 fielding percentage as a freshman in 2005 to a perfect 1.000 percentage as a senior in 2008 as he was one of nine college players to win a Rawlings Gold Glove, honoring Wilkes as the top defensive second baseman in the nation. The team's fielding percentage also improved under Bohannon's guidance as infield instructor, moving from last place in the SEC in 2005 to .974 in 2008 - a school record.
At Wake Forest, Bohannon worked primarily with the outfielders and base runners while also assisting with the hitters. During his two seasons there, the Demon Deacons posted team batting averages of .330 and .321, respectively. The 2001 Wake Forest club won the ACC championship and the Demon Deacons made the NCAA Tournament during both of Bohannon's seasons.
After completing his collegiate career at Berry College in 1997, Bohannon played two years of professional baseball for the Dubois County Dragons (Huntingburg, Ind.) and was named to the 1997 Heartland League All-Star team.
Bohannon graduated with a degree in finance from Berry College in 1998, and went on to earn his Master's degree in business administration from Wake Forest in 2002. Before joining Kentucky, he spent one year working as a Senior Financial Analyst for Intel Corporation in Portland, Ore. During the summer of 2005, Bohannon managed the Southern Ohio Copperheads of the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League.
Bohannon, 36, resides in Lexington and is married to the former Kim Traylor of Georgetown, Ky.
QUICK NOTES ON BOHANNON
* During his time as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator, Bohannon has brought in the most talent in program history, as 53 total players have been drafted or signed a professional contract during his tenure, a school record.
* Has formed one of the top rosters in the nation in 2013, as UK ranked second in the NCAA with 15 drafted players on its roster, behind only Vanderbilt (18) and ahead of Florida and South Carolina (12).
* Nine of Bohannon's recruits spent the 2012 summer in the Cape Cod League or with the USA National Team, equaling the most in the NCAA.
* After a record-laden 2012 season, a total of nine UK standouts were picked in the MLB Draft, the most in program history and the second-most in the NCAA.
* His recruiting classes are annually ranked among the nation's best, including the top two in program history, No. 4 in 2008 and No. 6 in 2009, with the 2008 class featuring high school All-Americans Alex Meyer, Braden Kapteyn and Michael Williams, in addition to underrated eventual All-SEC outfielder Chad Wright.
* Recruited by Bohannon throughout high school, Meyer finished a distinguished three-year career as the No. 23 pick in the 2011 MLB Draft to the Washington Nationals, the second-highest draft pick in UK baseball history.
* Has had great success with junior college talent, including eventual first-team All-America junior college sluggers in Ryan Strieby (2006), Sean Coughlin (2007) and Sawyer Carroll (2008), in addition to leading hitters Lance Ray (2010), Thomas McCarthy (2011-12) and Zac Zellers (2012).
* Has geared his recruiting approach to finding position players with great speed, athleticism, competitiveness and baseball instincts, all tools that show up in his aggressive approach as UK's third base coach and outfield defense coordinator.
* Recruited the corp of a UK roster that helped UK go from a last-place finish in the league in 2005 to a first-place finish in 2006, with UK riding the talents of individuals like Strieby, Coughlin, Collin Cowgill, Antone DeJesus, Sean Lehmann and Ryan Wilkes to a historic turnaround.
* As the outfield defensive coordinator, Bohannon puts an emphasis on speed, athleticism and defensive instincts, with UK annually leading the league in outfield assists and putouts. In 2012, UK centerfielder Austin Cousino ranked second in the league with eight outfield assists, including throwing out three players at the plate. Cousino also set a new UK record for putouts by a UK outfielder, showcasing jaw-dropping defensive skills in centerfielder.
* Coached the UK infield from 2006-08, with UK excelling at infield defense and turning the double play. Wilkes, UK's shortstop and Shelby, the second baseman, formed a dynamic tandem in 2006 with Wilkes sliding over to second base in 2008 to accommodate shortstop Chris Wade.
* Comes from a great business background, owning a M.B.A. from Wake Forrest in business administration and a finance degree from Berry College. Also played collegiately at Wake Forest, Vanderbilt and Berry College, and is married to the former Kim Traylor.