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Baseball: Cajuns tab Freeman as new pitching coach

Cody Futrell, The (Monroe) News-Star posted by The Advertiser, July 5, 2014

When West Monroe High School parted ways with former baseball coach Ross Blankenship, Rebel pitching coach Daniel Freeman decided he too would move on.

"When they decided not to bring Ross back, I left willingly," Freeman said. "I am a loyal guy with the coaches I coach under and so I did not want to go on there."

Freeman landed his next job Wednesday with one of the highest ranked college programs in the nation as he was hired as pitching coach at UL.

Freeman, a Ruston High School product, has been coaching at West Monroe the past three seasons and also has experience playing at the professional level.

After being named to the Class 5A All-State team and District 2-5A MVP in 2000, Freeman enrolled at Texarkana College where he pitched for two seasons before being drafted by the Houston Astros in the 17th round of the 2002 Major League Baseball Draft.

Freeman spent four seasons in the Astros farm system, playing his last two seasons in the High-A division. He then played with the Shreveport Sports of the Independent League in 2007.

This will be the first college coaching gig for Freeman, who said he interviewed with Cajuns coach Tony Robichaux on Tuesday and was offered the job.

At West Monroe, Freeman helped lead the Rebels to the Class 5A semifinals in 2013 and the playoffs each of the three seasons he was on staff. Freeman helped develop former Rebel standout pitcher Taka High and 2015 seniors Hayden Frost and Dustin Mitchell who improved their pitching statistics under the guidance of Freeman.

"I have been at every level of baseball as either a player or coach, so I feel like I can use those experiences to help the program," Freeman said.

"It is an honor for me to join a team that has the tradition and the type of winning atmosphere they have built there."

Freeman noted that the team was the No. 1 ranked team in the country at the end of the regular season and reached the NCAA Super Regional round of the postseason, but did have a lot of holes to fill because of graduation and the MLB Draft. He hopes to be able to use his strong ties in Texas and in northeastern Louisiana to recruit some of the best talent he can.

"I am hoping between my ties to the junior college system and the connections I have here is a lot, so I hope I can use that to make us better," Freeman said. "(Northeast Louisiana) is a great area for baseball talent. I will surely be back to see some of that talent."