No stranger to Aggieland, Andy Sawyers is in his second season as Texas A&M's associate head coach, coordinating the team's offense and working with the catchers defensively.
Sawyers rejoined the A&M baseball program in January prior to the 2011 campaign and helped lead the Aggies during a Big 12 Championship season that saw them reach the College World Series for the fifth time in program history.
The Aggie hitters responded to Sawyers' guidance as the A&M offense ranked first during league play with a .290 team batting average. For the season, the Aggies also led the conference in hits and doubles as seven A&M hitters garnered All-Big 12 accolades.
Highlighting the list of honorees under the tutelage of Sawyers were outfielders Tyler Naquin and Krey Bratsen, who drew national honors after the season.
Naquin was named Big 12 Player of the Year and an All-American as he topped all Big 12 hitters in batting average (.383), runs scored (68) and total bases (147) as well as finishing as the national leader in hits (104). Bratsen, meanwhile, was named as Freshman All-America as he burst onto the collegiate baseball scene by maintaining a .332 clip at the plate and finishing ninth nationally with 31 stolen bases.
A 13-year coaching veteran, Sawyers previously spent the 2008 season at Texas A&M as a volunteer coach, helping the Aggies claim a Big 12 Championship and advance to a NCAA Super Regional.
Prior to his return to College Station, Sawyers spent two seasons as an assistant coach at Kansas State where he guided the Wildcat hitters to two of their best seasons in school history. The Wildcats led the Big 12 in both batting average and steals in both of his seasons at KSU, hitting .323 in 2010 and .317 in 2009. Additionally, the Wildcats stole 149 bases in 2009 to break the school record and tallied 120 steals in 2010 to rank as the third highest season total in school history.
Besides leading the Big 12 in batting average and steals in 2010, Sawyers saw his KSU hitters finish second in the league in runs (448) and RBI (414), despite hitting fewer home runs (39) than any other team in the league. The Wildcats also held a team on-base percentage of .426 - the highest average in the Big 12 - thanks in part to a school record 110 hit-by-pitches, which ranked eighth in the nation.
The Wildcats had three players finish in the top 10 of the Big 12 in batting average, more than any other team in the league. Under Sawyers' eye, Nick Martini led the league in both batting average (.416) and on-base percentage (.509) en route to Big 12 Player of the Year honors. It was the seventh time in the history of the league that a player coached by Sawyers was named the Big 12 Player of the Year after Matt Hopper (Nebraska) in 2002, Alex Gordon (Nebraska) in 2004 and 2005, Jose Duran (Texas A&M) in 2008 and Naquin (Texas A&M) in 2011.
Sawyers also coached infielders Adam Muenster and Carter Jurica to first team All-Big 12 honors, while catcher Daniel Dellasega was an honorable mention All-Big 12 pick. Muenster was nearly unstoppable in Big 12 play as he held a league-only batting average of .434, the fifth highest in conference history. Jurica finished in the top 10 of the Big 12 in nine different offensive categories and became the highest Wildcat drafted since 1969 when he was taken in the third round of the 2010 MLB Draft by San Francisco.
In addition to leading the league in average and steals in 2009, the Wildcats produced 42 games with 10 or more hits and set the school record with 675 hits on the season, while K-State ranked among the conference leaders in on-base percentage (second; .399), runs scored (second; 458), hits (second), RBI (second; 420), doubles (third; 123); and fewest strikeouts (fourth; 393).
The Wildcats also improved their power numbers under Sawyers in 2009 as K-State hit 58 home runs, the third most in school history and the most since 1997. Kansas State also led the conference with 22 triples, while the Wildcats finished 20th in the nation in that category.
The KSU offense was also potent without the bat as Sawyers' aggressive coaching style led the Wildcats to a school-record 149 stolen bases, just two steals away from tying the Big 12 record. The 149 steals were tops in the Big 12 and second nationally.
Three Wildcats finished in the top-20 of the conference in hitting in Justin Bloxom (fourth; .361), Jurica (tied for eighth; .353) and Martini (18th; .336). Six Wildcats earned postseason All-Big 12 honors in 2009, while Martini garnered Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American accolades.
Sawyers came to K-State with impressive credentials after working on Big 12 Conference championship staffs at Nebraska and Texas A&M.
Before making the jump to Kansas State, Sawyers joined head coach Rob Childress as a volunteer assistant coach at Texas A&M for the 2008 season. While at A&M, Sawyers handled the outfielders and assisted hitting coach Jeremy Talbot, helping the Aggies win a Big 12 regular-season championship and earn a berth into the school's second-straight NCAA Super Regional. He helped tutor Duran to both Big 12 Newcomer and Player of the Year Awards, as well as five other Aggies who were named All-Big 12 in 2008.
Prior to his appointment at Texas A&M, Sawyers also worked with Childress as an assistant coach and the recruiting coordinator at Nebraska for the 2003-07 seasons. While in Lincoln, he helped the Huskers earn four trips to the NCAA Tournament, including a showing at the 2005 College World Series. Sawyers, who lettered two years at Nebraska, worked with 13 Huskers who were selected in the Major League Draft, including Gordon, a two-time Big 12 Player of the Year, who, in 2005, won five national player-of-the-year awards before being taken as the second overall pick by the Kansas City Royals.
Sawyers took on all hitting responsibilities at Nebraska beginning with the 2006 season, when the team batted .310 - its best mark in four years - and ranked in the top three of the Big 12 in home runs, stolen bases, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. He also served as the academic coordinator and worked with the catchers during his time in Lincoln. Additionally, Sawyers helped the Huskers recruit their highest-rated class in school history, as the 2004 recruiting class was ranked 16th nationally by Collegiate Baseball.
After serving as the volunteer assistant at Nebraska in 2000, Sawyers spent the 2001 and 2002 seasons as the head coach at Hutchinson Community College, compiling an 87-30 record and two postseason berths. In 2001, the Dragons went 40-16 and won the Jayhawk West Sub-Regional, while the 2002 squad set a school record with 47 wins and was ranked as high as seventh by the NJCAA.
Sawyers' coaching career began at Northwestern (La.) State in 1999 as a volunteer assistant coach. That season, the Demons went 38-21 en route to a second-place finish in the Southland Conference.
Sawyers began his playing career at Point Loma (Calif.) Nazarene College in 1994. Following a year off, he played at Mendocino (Calif.) Junior College in 1996 before finishing up his playing career at Nebraska as the catcher for the 1997 and 1998 teams. He started 76 career games at Nebraska, including 59 contests in 1997 when he batted .268.
A native of Willits, Calif., Sawyers received his bachelor's (1998) and master's (2000) degrees from Nebraska. He is married to the former Dena Lindeblad and the couple had their first child, Andrew James (A.J.) on June 24, 2010.