Ramirez introduced as Bears’ head baseball coach on Thursday

Marcus Smith
Sports Editor

Chris Ramirez will look to steer the Bears’ baseball program to great heights as he was introduced as the team’s 20th head coach on Thursday evening in the McCrorie Center of Lenoir-Rhyne University.

Ramirez comes to the Bears after a successful six-year stint at the University of Illinois Springfield.

He inherited a program at UIS that won 30 games in the first three years of its program’s history.

Ramirez took the job at UIS and laid the foundation for its future, and he comes to Lenoir-Rhyne looking to make an impact right away.

Director of Athletics Kim Pate had the rare opportunity to not only hire Ramirez at Lenoir-Rhyne, but also at UIS.

“It is my privilege and it’s a unique privilege for me actually. This is the first time I’ve ever done this before where I have the opportunity to introduce a coach for the second time,” said Pate during the press conference. “I was fired up about coach Ramirez six years ago when I introduced him at the University of Illinois Springfield. I knew that he was a winner...He hadn’t proven himself at that time, yet. He was just a young gung-ho, sharp, articulate and (he had) great energy, but I believed in him.”

UIS didn’t have a field on campus, and that was one of the things that Ramirez wanted to help change there. The season prior to his arrival, the team had only won 13 games.

He improved that by leaps and bounds as he built the Prairie Stars into one of the top programs in the nation.

Ramirez led UIS to several milestones during his tenure, including winning the first Great Lakes Valley Conference Division championship in 2018, as well as posted the program’s first national ranking in 2018 (as high as No. 4). The Prairie Stars also reached back-to-back NCAA Division II Regionals and secured a spot in the 2019 Super Regional.

In his final three years at UIS, he obtained a 121-47-1 record, including a 29-game winning streak in 2018.

Entering Lenoir-Rhyne 90th baseball season next spring, Ramirez looks to elevate the Bears.

Ramirez first acknowledged coaching staff back home and mentioned how excited he was to work with Lenoir-Rhyne’s staff. He said that the people are who win.

He also mentioned his family and friends back in Illinois that helped him from the beginning, including his wife Lindsay, his little ones, as well as both his wife’s family and his.

“I can’t wait to introduce my family to all of (the Lenoir-Rhyne community),” said Ramirez during the press conference. “It’s truly family first. We have an incredible support staff back home and they’re unbelievable. Obviously, we couldn’t do anything without our family.”

Ramirez moved on to discuss what he hopes to do at Lenoir-Rhyne.

“The reason why I’m here- you know my mission as a coach is to prepare our kids for life after Lenoir-Rhyne,” he said. “That’s number one. We get to do that through the lessons in coaching baseball...Once we have that going, the wins are going to come. We’re going to graduate our players. Academics have to be a high priority for us. We’re going to get good grades. That’s going to be a standard for us...I’m going to be here to ask the community, ‘how can we help? What can we do for Hickory?’. I truly believe our team can have a great impact."

Ramirez said that he’s not a patient man as he talked about winning right away because the seniors on the team don’t have four years to wait.