Cory Barton | Associate Head Coach
On Thursday morning, Louisiana Tech head baseball coach Lane Burroughs announced that Cory Barton will join the baseball staff for the 2018 campaign.
Barton will serve as the pitching coach for the Bulldogs after guiding the McNeese baseball program to one of the best seasons in its history.
"This was a very important search and hire and we did our due diligence," Burroughs noted. "We essentially had a short list and Cory was at the very top. He checked all the boxes that we were looking for. We needed an outstanding man that has integrity and character. We want to surround ourselves with men above reproach. This is important when you are building a program and establishing a culture."
During his three years at McNeese, Barton served as the program's recruiting coordinator while also working with the Cowboy pitching staff. Barton earned a reputation as one of the top recruiters in all of college baseball as his 2015-16 recruiting class was recognized among the best in the nation according to College Baseball Magazine. Baseball America tabbed his 2011 recruiting class as one of country's best alongside LSU, Texas A&M, Oklahoma State and Baylor.
"Obviously we needed a top notch pitching coach that could develop and foster meaningful relationships with our pitchers and an established recruiter," Burroughs added. "Cory is all these things. I've watched him as a player and competed against him as a coach. His guys compete their tails off for him and his ability to call a game is off the charts. He has established recruiting connections all over the country, but more importantly he has recruited extremely well within our circle. He is an extremely hard worker, he's blue collar, he is a fierce competitor and he's just a good dude that is easy to get along with. These are traits that are extremely important to me and our staff."
Barton was instrumental to the Cowboys' success over the past three years, securing four consecutive 30-win seasons from 2014-17. He also made school history in 2015, as the team posted a sub 4.00 ERA for the first time since the 1993 season, marking just the fifth time since 1990 that a McNeese baseball squad registered an ERA lower than 4.00.
"I would like to thank Coach Burroughs for giving me this opportunity," Barton said. "I have known him since I was a player at the University of Memphis and have always admired not only the caliber of baseball coach that he is, but the type of man he is as well. I am extremely excited to get to work with him, Coach Creel and Coach Knight."
This past season, Barton guided the McNeese pitching staff to the third-lowest ERA (4.19) and the second-most wins (37) and saves (17) in the Southland. The Cowboys' bullpen was regarded among the best in the conference.
"Having coached in this area the past several years, I am very familiar with this program," Barton added. "I have always thought of Louisiana Tech as having incredible potential. I think this baseball program is just scratching the surface of what it could be. I know that I am ready to get to work and do whatever is necessary every day to make Bulldog baseball the absolute best program that it can be."
Prior to his time at McNeese, Barton spent five seasons as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Louisiana Monroe, helping lead the Warhawks to a Sun Belt Championship in 2012. Barton joined the ULM staff in 2008 after two seasons as an assistant coach at Memphis and a two-year playing career with the Tigers.
"Cory has been around some of the better pitching minds in our business; men I respect tremendously. He played for Coach Bobby Sprowl at Shelton State, Daron Schoenrock at Memphis and has worked side by side with Justin Hill for numerous years. He is prepared and ready for this job and the future of Louisiana Tech Baseball is very bright. I know our players, alumni and fans will be more than impressed with Coach Barton and what he will bring to the table."
As a player, Barton played in 94 games, making 86 starts. The 2006 Tiger co-captain hit six home runs and drove in 49 runs. Barton, a native of Trussville, Alabama, graduated from Memphis with a sport management degree in May 2007. He and his wife Robin have a 1-year-old son, Cooper.
"I give the pitching coach a ton of responsibility," Burroughs concluded. "It couldn't be just anyone and Cory is the perfect match. I am so pumped and excited about Coach Barton joining our staff and working with our guys on a daily basis. I know our guys will thrive under his guidance. I want to ask Bulldogs everywhere to join me in welcoming Coach Barton, his wife Robin and young son Cooper to Ruston."
Travis Creel | Assistant Coach
Louisiana Tech head baseball coach Lane Burroughs announced on July 11, 2016 the addition of Travis Creel to his staff as the Bulldogs' assistant coach and director of camps.
Creel joins Louisiana Tech after spending two years at Jones County Junior College, helping guide the Bobcats to a 2016 NJCAA Division II National Championship. During his stint with the Bobcats, Creel served as the hitting coach, infield coach and recruiting coordinator.
"We are so thrilled that Travis will be joining us at Louisiana Tech," Burroughs said. "Travis is a winner. I recruited him out of high school and saw him continuously get better as a player through college. He played under two men that I consider mentors and family in Corky Palmer and Scott Berry. He has also worked alongside Dillon Sudduth, Chris Kirtland and obviously, Coach Ostrander, three men I have the utmost respect for."
Prior of joining the Bobcats, Creel began his coaching career serving as the hitting coach at Meridian Community College for a season. During that year, Creel also worked with the infield.
Originally from Ocean Springs, Mississippi, Creel was recruited by, then Southern Miss assistant, Burroughs. Over his five years with the Golden Eagles, Creel would help lead Southern Miss to three NCAA Tournament appearances and one appearance in the College World Series.
Creel holds the Southern Miss single-game record for hits in a game with six and in two separate seasons, led all of Conference USA in sacrifice bunts.
A two-time team captain, Creel was awarded the USM Colonel Fletcher Leadership Award.
"Travis has played in the College World Series and won a national championship as a coach," Burroughs said. "His knowledge and maturity far exceed his years. Our players are going to love working with Coach Creel on a daily basis. Please join me all Bulldog fans in welcoming Travis, his wife Alison and young son Brody to Ruston. I could not be more pleased with the staff we have assembled. Our better days are ahead."
Creel has earned both a Bachelor of Science (2012) and Master of Science in Sport Coaching Education (2015) from the University of Southern Mississippi.
Creel and his wife Alison have one son, Brody.
Austin Knight | Assistant Coach
On Friday morning, Louisiana Tech head baseball coach Lane Burroughs announced that Austin Knight would be joining the Bulldog Baseball staff for the 2018 season.
Knight will come to Ruston as the volunteer assistant coach, replacing Travis Creel who was promoted to the Bulldog hitting coach and recruiting coordinator last week.
“I’ve known Austin a long time,” Burroughs said. “He comes from a baseball family and a long lineage of coaches in the Knight family. His dad (Larry – Sumrall HS [MS]) is one of the most respected and successful coaches not only in Mississippi, but the entire country. [Austin] is a student of the game and the classic overachiever. He is an extremely hard worker that worked himself into a starter at Ole Miss, on a squad that played in the College World Series. He’s also learned and worked under two men I have the utmost respect for in Mike Bianco and Chris Curry.”
The former Ole Miss Rebel has spent the past two seasons as a graduate manager at Little Rock working under Currry. During those two years with the Trojans, Knight spent time working with the catchers and assisting with hitting.
“I am so excited about Austin working with our catchers,” Burroughs continued. “He coached Brent Diaz in the Cape last summer and helped Brent develop into one of the best catchers in the country. He is a rising star in our profession and I’m convinced that he will add a tremendous amount of value to our program.”
After spending the 2016 summer with Brent Diaz, the junior saw a significant increase in offensive output. Diaz not only saw an increase in power numbers, but also saw his average rise nearly 60 points from 2016 to 2017 leading to the Miami native being named a finalist for the Johnny Bench Award.
Diaz is not the only high-profile catcher that Knight has worked with. While with the Cape Cod League, Knight also coached Matt Whatley, a third-round pick of the Oakland A’s in this year’s draft and the winner of the 2017 Johnny Bench Award. Overall, Knight worked with five catchers who were selected in the 2017 MLB Draft.
“I am extremely excited for the opportunity Coach Burroughs has given me to join the Louisiana Tech baseball coaching staff,” Knight said. “I have known Coach Burroughs for a long time and I know he and his staff are class acts and it is an honor to be able to work with great people whom I have tremendous respect for. I can’t wait to help build on to the success that the program has had in recent years in any way that I can.”
Knight lettered for four years at Ole Miss, helping lead the Rebels to a 2014 College World Series appearance. He received bachelors in Business Management in 2015 from Ole Miss and a Masters in Sports Management from Little Rock in 2017.
“He’s a man of character and integrity and as everyone knows, those are two huge cornerstones of our culture at Tech and play huge roles in what we are trying to achieve here in Ruston,” stated Burroughs.