OXFORD, Ohio – New Miami University baseball head coach Danny Hayden wasted no time getting to work, announcing the hirings of Jeremy Ison and Matt Davis as his assistant baseball coaches Thursday. Ison, who was an assistant at Miami the previous eight seasons under former head coach Dan Simonds, will serve as the associate head coach, while Davis will be the pitching coach.
“I could not be happier that we were able to keep Jeremy on staff,” Hayden said. “Having worked with him at Miami previously, I know he is a great teacher of baseball and a tireless worker. He has also helped build an amazing alumni presence that is very valuable to this program. I am eager to work with Jeremy on returning this program to where it should be.”
Ison remains at his alma mater, where he was a standout infielder from 1998-2001, for his ninth consecutive season as a coach in Miami’s dugout. After starting with the RedHawks as a volunteer assistant coach in 2006, Ison was elevated to a full-time assistant coach in 2007, instructing Miami’s infielders and helping develop the offensive game plan. He coached with Hayden at Miami during the 2009 and 2010 seasons when Hayden was the director of baseball operations and volunteer assistant coach.
In addition to coaching the team, Ison will serve as the recruiting coordinator for the RedHawks. Ison has also worked closely with Miami Baseball alumni, helping increase alumni donations each of his first five years on the job. In doing so, he assisted in raising money for the Legacy Project, which will build a new locker room and coaches offices as part of McKie Field at Hayden Park in the coming months.
Working with Miami’s hitters, the RedHawks increased their offensive production each of Ison’s first four years on staff. Beginning in 2006, Miami improved its team batting average, runs scored and home runs each of the next three seasons, peaking with a .310 team batting average, 431 runs scored and a whopping 67 home runs in 2009.
Ison has developed plenty of individual talent with the RedHawks as well, highlighted by Adam Eaton (2008-10), who currently plays for the Arizona Diamondbacks. Eaton is one of seven RedHawks under Ison’s watch to be drafted in the Major League Baseball Amateur Draft from 2007-11, all seven of whom went undrafted coming out of high school. A total of 13 position players have earned All-Mid-American Conference honors with Ison’s help, including Matt Honchel, the 2012 MAC Freshman of the Year. Ison also developed the 2013 MAC Freshman of the Year in Jake Romano, while Romano and Honchel both collected Freshman All-America accolades from Collegiate Baseball newspaper.
As a player, Ison spent four seasons as Miami's starting shortstop, appearing in 241 games and belting 38 home runs, which rank him second on Miami's career list. He appears among the top five on four other career lists at Miami as well, ranking second in runs batted in (175), third in total bases (387), fifth in hits (237) and fifth in runs scored (162), while ranking seventh in doubles (47). As a junior, Ison hit a career-high 15 home runs on his way to earning Second-Team All-MAC honors and helping the RedHawks advance to the NCAA Tournament with the program's first Mid-American Conference Tournament title since 1983.
Ison, a native of Hudson, Ohio, earned his degree in sport organization from Miami in 2001. He then signed as a free agent with the Chicago White Sox and spent five seasons playing various levels of professional baseball, including a stint as a player/coach with the Florence Freedom of the independent Frontier League.
With Ison handling the offense, Davis will work with Miami’s pitchers.
“I am very excited to add Matt to the staff. Matt had a great professional baseball career that has prepared him well to be our new pitching coach,” Hayden said. “He is a guy who should have instant credibility with our players because of that. He is a smart, driven coach and I am confident our pitchers will learn from such a proven winner.”
Davis comes to Miami from Ohio Dominican University, where he spent the last two years as an assistant coach and pitching coach for the Panthers. This past season, Davis helped lead Ohio Dominican into the GLIAC Tournament for the first time in program history, as the Panthers reached the championship round.
On the mound, the Panthers lowered their team ERA from 5.10 in 2012 to 4.37 in 2013 under Davis’ tutelage, while the ODU hurlers also fired 34 more strikeouts in Davis’ second year (261 in 2013) compared to his first season (227 in 2012). He coached pitcher Dan Mooney to Honorable Mention All-GLIAC honors in 2013, as well.
Prior to coaching at Ohio Dominican, Davis was the head varsity baseball coach at Novinger High School in Missouri. He also served as the pitching coach at Mason High School near Cincinnati and an assistant coach at Upper Arlington High School in Columbus.
As a player at Ohio State, Davis led the Buckeyes to three straight Big Ten championships from 2001-03. He was a First-Team All-Big Ten selection in 2003 and was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the seventh round of the 2003 draft. Davis left OSU as the program’s all-time saves leader with 14 and currently ranks fourth, while his 12 saves in 2003 were also a single-season record and still rank second.
A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, Davis earned his bachelor’s degree in family resource management from Ohio State in 2003. Following his college career, Davis spent seven years playing professional baseball, including four seasons in the Indians’ minor league system. He also played in the Chicago White Sox system, appearing in 286 games during his pro career while racking up 67 career saves.
Both Ison and Davis begin their duties immediately. Miami’s 2014 schedule will be announced in the coming months.