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COACHING STAFF

Paul Evans | Assistant Coach

Paul Evans returns for his 29th year with the Bears after guiding the Missouri State mound corps through an unrivaled period of success over the last five seasons. During that time, Evans's pupils have posted three of the four lowest team ERA's--as well as the top two single-season strikeout totals--in program history.

Evans, who was named D1Baseball.com's National Assistant Coach of the Year in 2015, led a star-studded Bears staff that featured three All-Americans who helped power MSU to a school-record 49 victories and the program's second NCAA Division I Regional crown. Under Evans's tutelage, the Bears paced the Missouri Valley Conference and ranked among the nation's top teams in earned run average (2.91), strikeouts (553), WHIP (1.22) and shutouts (9), holding the opposition to three runs or less in 37 of their 61 games.

The Bears (49-12) set program records for wins and strikeouts en route to capturing both the MVC regular-season and tournament titles and sweeping the Springfield Regional field. Several MSU hurlers enjoyed banner seasons under the direction of Evans, including junior consensus All-American Matt Hall, who shattered the Valley's 33-year-old single-season record for strikeouts with a Division I-best 171 punchouts while matching the Bears' program standard for victories (12). Fellow junior All-America pick Jon Harris flourished in his third year as a Bear as well, notching an 8-2 record, a 2.45 ERA and 116 strikeouts before becoming the fifth MSU pitcher taken in the first round of the Major League Baseball Draft in June, going 29th overall to Toronto. He also became the fifth Bear to be named MVC Pitcher of the Year and was a Golden Spikes Award nominee. Sophomore closer Bryan Young completed the triumvirate of Missouri State All-America pitchers, notching a club-record 16 saves to go along with a 7-0 mound mark and 1.30 ERA. The right-hander was one of five finalists for the NCBWA's National Stopper of the Year Award.

The landmark 2015 season continued a string of unprecedented success for Evans and his Missouri State pitching pupils. Over the past decade, Evans has helped develop four of the highest MLB Draft picks in MSU history, with Brett Sinkbeil going 19th overall in 2006, Ross Detwiler as the sixth overall pick in 2007 and Pierce Johnson as the 43rd overall pick in 2012 prior to Harris's selection this season. In fact, Evans has mentored five first-rounders in the last 15 seasons, including John Rheinecker, who went 37th overall in 2001.

A total of 59 hurlers have signed pro contracts under Evans' tutelage, including at least one in each of his 28 seasons with 11 advancing to the Major Leagues. Additionally, Evans has seen three Bears selected to pitch for Team USA: Jarrod Mays (1995), Bob Zimmermann (2001 and 2002) and Detwiler (2006). Furthermore, MSU pitchers have been tabbed for first-team all-conference honors 22 times during Evans's tenure in Springfield, with 12 different hurlers claiming All-America recognition.

In 2012, Evans guided a dominant Bears' pitching staff that posted the best team ERA (2.57) in the country, while ranking fifth in Division I with 537 strikeouts. Both marks shattered previous MSU team records, as did the Bears' 11 shutouts, which also led the nation. Additionally, sophomore Nick Petree netted numerous All-America honors, as well as the first national player of the year citation for a baseball Bear when Collegiate Baseball tabbed the Clinton, Mo., product its 2012 Louisville Slugger National Player of the Year after he finished 10-4 with the nation's lowest individual earned run average (1.01). The Bears' 2013 staff was nearly as impressive, posting a 3.12 ERA for the season, good for the third-best in program history.

Prior to joining the Bears' coaching staff, Evans guided Rend Lake to a 201-95 mark in three years which included two Illinois juco sectional titles.

A native of Granite City, Ill., Evans played football and baseball at South High School. He pitched his American Legion teams to back-to-back state runner-up finishes and had a 50-8 combined career record in high school and American Legion. He gained Illinois all-state honors in baseball while in high school and, in 2000, he was inducted in the Granite City Sports Hall of Fame.

Evans was 18-7 at Southern Illinois before graduating from SIU in 1981. His 0.84 ERA as a sophomore was third in NCAA Division I and he tossed a no-hitter against SIU Edwardsville. Additonally, his nine career saves still rank sixth all-time at SIU.

Evans was head coach at Shawnee Junior College and assisted at RLC two years before becoming head coach. A Central Illinois Collegiate League and Cape Cod League hurler in his own playing days, he returned to Cape Cod in 1988 as pitching coach at Yarmouth-Dennis.

Evans has three children; Kyle, Kameron and Kassidy.

 

Matt Lawson | Assistant Coach

Missouri State University head coach Keith Guttin appointed former Bear Matt Lawson has to the position of assistant coach to complete MSU’s staff in July 2017.

A two-time All-Missouri Valley Conference honoree during his MSU playing career, Lawson will serve as MSU's lead hitting instructor and recruiting coordinator after filling a variety of roles on the Bears’ staff over the last four seasons. He joins assistant (pitching) coach Paul Evans on MSU's full-time staff for the 2018 campaign, which will mark Guttin's 36th year as the Bears' bench boss.

“We expect Matt to bring the same things to our program as a full-time assistant that he did as a player, volunteer assistant, graduate manager and student assistant,” Guttin stated. “He is fiercely loyal to Missouri State and  possesses a great work ethic, as well as a tremendous ability to connect with our student-athletes.”

Lawson has served as a volunteer assistant and student assistant coach, as well as a graduate manager since his return to his alma mater, playing a pivotal role in one of the most successful stretches in Missouri State baseball history while working with the Bears’ hitters and infielders. Over the last three seasons alone, the Bears have claimed two MVC regular-season titles, as well as two of the program’s three NCAA Super Regional berths with Regional crowns in 2015 and 2017, while racking up 130 overall victories—the best three-year win total in the 54-year history of the program.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to work alongside Coach Guttin and Coach Evans, two of the best in the game and people for which I have tremendous respect,” Lawson said. “Being a Bear has always been a privilege that I do not take for granted and I am eager to get to work. I'm just as passionate about coaching hitters as I am infielders, so this is a dream come true for me.”   

As part of the Bears’ recent run of success, Missouri State has hit .287 overall while averaging 6.9 runs per game and shattering the club’s single-season record for walks in both 2015 (317) and 2017 (351). MSU has clubbed 160 home runs as a team over the last two seasons, including four different individual season totals of 20 or more homers, paced by 2016 NCAA Division I home run leader Spencer Johnson’s 24 round-trippers.

On the defensive side, Lawson has helped mentor a Missouri State infield that has set new program standards for excellence as well. The Bears have posted the top three cumulative team fielding percentages in MSU history over the last three seasons, including an all-time best of .976 during the Bears’ school-record 49-win campaign in 2015. MSU infielders have also turned 142 double plays while committing just 176 errors in 183 games, marking their best three-year fielding clip since 1976-78.

Individually, Lawson has aided in the development of a pair of infielders who have earned MVC Defensive Player of the Year laurels, as well as two first-team All-Americans and USA Baseball Collegiate National Team selections in Jake Burger and Jeremy Eierman during his time with the Bears.

In addition to his time on the Bears’ coaching staff, Lawson has logged a pair of head coaching experiences leading summer league programs since his return to Springfield. Most recently, he served as field manager and third base coach for the Kalamazoo Growlers of the prestigious Northwoods League in 2016, overseeing game management and player recruitment. Lawson also spend two summers working with the Branson Nationals of the MINK League.

A native of Carl Junction, Mo., Lawson initially returned to Missouri State to begin his collegiate coaching career as a volunteer assistant in 2011, before returning to professional baseball for the 2012-13 seasons to complete a successful seven-year playing career. A 14th-round draft choice of the Texas Rangers in 2007, Lawson advanced as far as Triple-A Columbus with the Cleveland Indians organization, hitting a career-best .327 in 2012 with Class AA Akron. He was named the Spokane Indians’ team MVP as a rookie in 2007 and a California League (Class A) All-Star in 2009, batting .293 with career highs in home runs (10) and RBIs (57) for Bakersfield. He followed that performance with an effort that earned him a spot in the Texas League (Class AA) All-Star Game the following year before being packaged as part of a trade to the Seattle Mariners that included American League Cy Young Award-winner Cliff Lee in July 2010.

Lawson was a three-year letterwinner at second base for MSU from 2005-07, picking up second-team All-MVC honors and MSU’s Willis Award as team MVP in 2006 after hitting .330 and leading the club in runs scored (43), doubles (19), triples (3) and stolen bases (20). He added an honorable mention all-conference nod in 2007 and still ranks 10th on the Bears’ all-time assists list.

Lawson graduated with his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Missouri State in 2015, before finishing a master’s degree in sports management from MSU this past spring. He and his wife, Mallory, reside in Springfield with their son, Luke.

 

Joe Lincoln | Volunteer Assistant Coach

Joe Lincoln begins his third year on the Missouri State staff as the Bears' volunteer assistant coach, once again assisting with the day-to-day operations of the program, while working with the MSU catchers and hitters.

 At Austin Peay, the Tipton, Mo., product assisted the Governors catchers while also aiding the Governors' hitting and strength and conditioning programs. He helped the Govs to 40-win seasons and Ohio Valley Conference titles in each of his two years at the school, highlighted by runner-up finishes at both the NCAA Eugene (Ore.) Regional in 2012 and the Bloomington (Ind.) Regional in 2013.

In 2014, Lincoln reprised his role at Southern Illinois, working with the Salukis catchers and hitters, while helping oversee SIU's camp operations.

A former standout catcher at Missouri Southern, Lincoln began his coaching career after playing parts of two professional seasons in the Los Angeles Dodgers' minor league system. He hit .434 with 11 home runs and 53 RBIs to earn All-MIAA and ABCA All-South Central Region honors in his lone season at MSSU prior to being taken in the 34th round of the 2010 Major League Baseball Draft by the Dodgers. Lincoln also played one year at Kansas, hitting .240 as a sophomore following a strong rookie campaign at Maple Woods Community College in the Kansas City area.

After serving as hitting instructor with the Bourne Braves of the prestigious Cape Cod Baseball League in 2014 and 2015, Lincoln took over as field manager of the DuPage Drones of the Prospect League in 2016.

A 2012 Austin Peay graduate, Lincoln and his wife, Katie, have a son, Sawyer, and reside in Springfield.

 

Tyler Jeske | Director of Operations

Tyler Jeske moves into the role of director of operations this year after spending his first season with the Bears as the team’s video coordinator. The Avon Lake, Ohio, native adds the oversight of the program’s day-to-day operations, including coordinating equipment and travel needs, to his list of responsibilities. 
    
Jeske oversaw the Bears’ video operations last spring after joining the program in January 2016. This year, he will also add the coordination MSU’s newly-implemented Trackman system to his duties.
    
Prior to joining the Bears’ staff, Jeske served as an assistant for international operations with the Texas Rangers. Under the direction of the Rangers’ international scouting director, he managed the day-to-day operations for scouting coverage and player development at the team’s player development complex in the Dominican Republic. 
    
Jeske filled a similar role with the Cleveland Indians, serving as video operations director for the Indians’ Dominican complex. Jeske assisted the Indians’ coaching staff with the writing of daily game reports and practice plans, game review and indexing of video data. 
    
Jeske earned his bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Akron in 2013. While at Akron, he began his career in the baseball industry by serving as a video assistant with the Akron RubberDucks (formerly Aeros), Cleveland’s Double-A affiliate.

 

Matt Fultz | Graduate Manager

Matt Fultz begins his first year as a member of the Bears’ coaching staff in 2017 following the completion of his three-year Missouri State playing career. The Lee’s Summit, Mo., native will serve as a student assistant for the Bears while continuing work on his undergraduate degree in psychology.
    
Fultz was a three-year starter in the catcher position at MSU after transferring from Seminole (Okla.) State College. He concluded his Bears career ranked among MSU’s all-time leaders in fielding percentage (.987). Fultz played a key role in the Bears’ school-record 49-win season in 2015, helping MSU compile a 35-4 record in his 39 starts behind the plate en route to a No. 12 national ranking in both the coaches and NCBWA final polls. He was named to the NCAA Springfield Regional All-Tournament team after hitting .400 and reaching base safely in six of his 11 plate appearances to help the Bears win all three of their games to earn their second Super Regional berth as a Division I program.
    
A prep standout at Lee’s Summit West High School, Fultz was selected by the Cleveland Indians in the 34th round of the 2012 Major League Baseball Draft after clubbing 24 homers over his final two seasons with the Titans.

 

Geoff Jimenez | Graduate Manager

Graduate manager Geoff Jimenez joins the Bears after beginning his collegiate coaching career on the staff of Georgia Southwestern State University last spring. The Pembroke Pines, Fla., native will assist the Missouri State outfielders and help coordinate the day-to-day operations of the program in his first year with the Bears.
    
Jimenez spent the 2016 season as an assistant coach at Georgia Southwestern, working with the Hurricane outfielders and overseeing the club’s baserunning instruction. Under his direction, GSW logged a 25-steal improvement from the previous season as part of its 25-24 campaign. Prior to joining the Hurricane staff, Jimenez spent a year assisting his prep alma mater, Charles W. Flanagan High School, which captured a district title and regional final appearance in 2015.

Jimenez concluded his playing career at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., where he earned a bachelor’s degree in exercise science. In his lone season with the Sharks, Jimenez led the NCAA Division II Sunshine State Conference in stolen bases (33) and paced the NSU offense with 29 walks and 37 runs scored.
    
Jimenez began his collegiate career at NCAA Division I Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Fla., where he was a part of the Owls’ back-to-back Sun Belt Conference championship squads in 2012 and 2013. The outfielder helped FAU earn an NCAA Regional berth in 2013, earning postseason all-tournament team recognition after picking up Sun Belt All-Academic team honors in 2012.

 

Aaron Meyer | Student Assistant

Bio Coming Soon