Michigan State Names Sikes Assistant Baseball Coach

July 20, 2010

Comes To Sparty From Notre Dame…

EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State head baseball coach Jake Boss has announced the hiring of Graham Sikes as assistant coach.

Sikes has spent the past three seasons as the volunteer assistant coach at Notre Dame and has also coached at James Madison, Young Harris (Ga.) College and Nicholls State. Throughout his career, Sikes has coached 28 players who have been selected in the Major League Baseball Draft. He will primarily be working with the outfielders and hitters at MSU while also coordinating the base running program.

Graham Sikes

“We are very pleased and excited to have Graham on our staff as an assistant coach at Michigan State,” said Boss. “He’s going to be extremely versatile for us – he’s an outstanding hitting coach and has had success working with catchers and outfielders. He’s also a tireless worker who is very detail oriented. Graham is a man of great character and is going to represent Michigan State and the Spartan baseball program in a positive manner.”

While at Notre Dame, Sikes primarily coached the catchers and outfielders. He also oversaw UND’s expansive baseball camp operations and helped coordinate the program’s annual Opening Night Dinner. Sikes coached 14 players who were drafted during his three seasons at Notre Dame.

In working with the Irish catchers, Sikes tutored Cameron McConnell, who threw out 26 base stealers in 2009 – the most by an Irish catcher since 1996 and seventh most in the nation. McConnell threw out 36.1 percent (26 of 72) of attempted base stealers on the season, which was the second-highest percentage for an Irish catcher since 1996, and followed that effort by throwing out 12 more runners in 2010. In addition, Sikes coached Will Harford, who was selected in the 45th round (No. 1,357 overall) by the Cincinnati Reds in the 2010 Major League Baseball Draft.

An assistant at James Madison for the 2007 season, Sikes helped instruct the Dukes hitters while working directly with the catchers, the position he played at Liberty University. He had been promoted to recruiting coordinator at JMU three weeks before heading to Notre Dame.

Sikes previously was the recruiting coordinator, hitting coach and catcher’s coach at Young Harris (Ga.) College in 2006, helping direct a Mountain Lions team that racked up 48 wins while being ranked eighth among the nation’s junior college teams. He coached seven players on that team who were MLB Draft picks during the 2006 season.

Sikes’ first coaching position came in the fall of 2004, when he was named the assistant coach for Independence (Kan.) Community College and worked primarily with the team’s hitters, catchers and outfielders. After the fall season at Independence, Sikes earned an assistant coaching position at Nicholls State (La.) University and went on to work with the team’s catchers while assisting with the hitters during the 2005 season. Sikes mentored Nicholls State player John Brummet as he made the transition from third base to catcher, and that position switch helped land Brummet a professional contract with the Oakland Athletics’ organization (he went on to be promoted to AAA in his first professional season).

From 2005-07, Sikes worked for the Pittsburgh Pirates as an associate Major League Baseball scout, with his coverage area including Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. He also coached one season (2005) for the Florence RedWolves of the Coastal Plain League.

Sikes was a four-year letterman at Liberty in Lynchburg, Va., helping lead the Flames to a pair of Big South Conference championships and two NCAA Regional appearances. During his career as the Flames’ catcher, Sikes threw out better than 50 percent of attempted base-stealers. He started behind the plate for the team’s win over Seton Hall in the South Atlantic Regional, producing the school’s first NCAA Tournament victory in any sport.

During his senior season, Liberty finished among the nation’s top-10 leaders in nearly every offensive statistic, as the Flames hit .337 with 86 home runs, 30 triples, 151 doubles and 111 stolen bases. Twenty-four of his Liberty teammates went on to careers in professional baseball.

Sikes earned his undergraduate degree from Liberty in 2002 and went on to earn a master’s degree in health and physical education from Emporia (Kan.) State University in 2006.

(Michigan State Release)

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