Zach Dillon was named Mississippi State baseball coordinator of camps, head baseball coach John Cohen announced Thursday. In addition to his duties associated with directing MSU's summer and winter baseball camps, Dillon will also serve as the Bulldogs' volunteer assistant coach and coach first base during the season.
"We are thrilled to welcome Coach Dillon to the Mississippi State family," Cohen said. "Zach’s experience at virtually every level of baseball, along with his coaching success, makes him a valuable asset to our baseball program."
Dillon joins the MSU coaching staff after spending the previous 11 months as the director and head coach of the 18U Iowa Sticks, the premiere youth baseball club in Iowa. The new MSU first base coach also worked as the director of the Premiere Baseball High School Spring League as well as the PPC Showcase Camps.
"I am honored and humbled to be joining the Mississippi State baseball program,” Dillon said. “I look forward to adding to the storied baseball tradition and assisting in the daily efforts to bring a national championship to Starkville."
Prior to his time in Waukee, Iowa, Dillon served as an assistant coach at the University of Iowa. While there, the Hawkeyes’ third base coach was the hitting coach and recruiting coordinator, responsible in all areas of program development including player development, in-game decisions and opponent scouting reports.
Dillon returned to Iowa City after helping Baylor in 2012 as a volunteer assistant. He aided the Bears in reaching a Super Regional and finishing 49-17 overall, one win shy of a school record and a trip to Omaha for the College World Series. Dillon’s club captured the Big 12 regular-season championship, reached No. 1 in the nation for the first time in school history and was the No. 4 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament.
In terms of player development, Dillon coached a school-record 11 All-Big 12 players that season, including six first team selections, including Big 12 Player of the Year Josh Ludy and Big 12 Newcomer of the Year Nathan Orf. A conference record four Bears garnered Louisville Slugger All-America recognition, while a total of six players were taken in the 2012 Major League Baseball Draft.
Before coaching in Waco, Dillon worked as the volunteer assistant and camp coordinator at Iowa. In his first two seasons in Iowa City, Dillon was part of a coaching staff which led the Black and Yellow to 50 victories and six All-Big Ten honors. Off the field, the Hawkeyes tallied 20 Academic All-Big Ten honors, including a school-record 12 in 2011.
In 2010, Iowa finished 30-28 overall after winning 11 of its final 14 games, finishing third in the Big Ten. Dillon’s club tied its highest finish in school history with a runner-up finish in the Big Ten Tournament, the first tournament victories for the program since 1990.
As a player, the 2006 Big 12 Player of the Year played collegiately at Baylor from 2003-06, where he was an integral part of three NCAA Tournament appearances, two NCAA Super Regionals and a College World Series berth. The two-time ABCA All-Region all-star was also named to two NCAA Tournament All-Regional teams, named All-Big 12 twice and was a semifinalist for the Johnny Bench Award his senior season.
As a senior in Waco, Dillon recorded a school-record .421 batting average, with an eye-popping .496 on-base percentage in Big 12 play. He led the league in average and base on balls, finishing in the top-20 nationally in walks per game. Dillon wrapped up his career with a .307 average, 124 RBIs and 115 walks.
Away from the diamond, Dillon was a four-time academic all-conference selection, a First Team ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American and a 10-time member of the Big 12 Conference Commissioner's Honor Roll. In 2009, he was also the recipient of spring post-graduate scholarship.
Following his collegiate playing days, the catcher was selected by the Baltimore Orioles in 2006 with in the 20th Round of the first-year player draft. In 2007, he powered the Frederick Keys (Class A-Advanced) to the Carolina League championship, earning a big league spring training invite a few months later.
Dillon graduated Magna Cum Laude from Baylor with a bachelor's degree in education in 2005. He later earned his master's degree in education and sports management in 2009.