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Baseball: Deggs Finalizes 2020 Louisiana Baseball Coaching Staff
New Ragin’ Cajuns Baseball head coach sets coaching staff in place for first campaign
LAFAYETTE – Louisiana Athletics welcomed back Matt Deggs as head coach of Louisiana Baseball on July 18, and the new leader of the Ragin' Cajuns went to work on solidifying his coaching staff for the 2020 season. New to the staff, but a familiar face to fans of the Vermilion & White is B.J. Ryan, who returns to Louisiana Baseball as volunteer assistant coach and pitching coach.
In addition to Ryan's inclusion on Deggs' first coaching staff at Louisiana, the Ragin' Cajuns welcome back Anthony Babineaux as associate head coach/director of player and program development, Jeremy Talbot as assistant coach/recruiting coordinator and Jake Wells as assistant coach/hitting coach.
"B.J. made it known that he would like to come back to Louisiana Baseball and help out," Deggs said. "We jumped at the opportunity to have a man and coach of his caliber and experience back at the University. It is not every day you get to work with someone with his experience, which came at the highest of levels. B.J. had a remarkable Major League career and after getting to know him, I can tell you that these current student-athletes and incoming recruits are going to be coached by one of the very best."
A two-time MLB All-Star, Ryan played two seasons for the Ragin' Cajuns (1997-98) before embarking on an 11-year career in the big leagues (1999-2009). Standing out as a two-way contributor at Louisiana, he led the Sun Belt Conference in saves during the 1998 season, then earned the conference tournament's Most Outstanding Player award after recording 12 RBI to lead the program to its first Sun Belt Tournament Championship.
Ryan was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the 17th round of the 1998 MLB Draft and made his rookie debut for the club during the 1999 season before being traded to the Baltimore Orioles. He played six more full seasons with the Orioles, culminating in an All-Star selection in 2005. Ryan went to free agency ahead of the 2006 season and signed with the Toronto Blue Jays, where he made the All-Star Game for the second-straight year.
Babineaux continues in his role as a mainstay on the Ragin' Cajuns Baseball staff, serving as associate head coach/director of player and program development. He joined legendary head coach Tony Robichaux's staff in 1997, and has served in a variety of capacities since, giving Babineaux a wealth of knowledge about the day-to-day operation of the baseball program.
"'Bab' and I have come up through the ranks together and have been friends for 25 years," Deggs said. "We had the opportunity to work closely together from 2012-14. He has been an integral part of Ragin' Cajuns Baseball for 25 years, and he understands what makes this program special, and how the game of college baseball works at the highest level. Coach Babineaux is a valuable asset to the community, our program and our mission moving forward."
Talbot, who previously coached alongside Deggs from 2006-09 when the two worked as assistant coaches at Texas A&M, continues as assistant coach/recruiting coordinator for the Ragin' Cajuns. The 2020 campaign will be Talbot's sixth season with Louisiana Baseball.
"Jeremy was a top recruiter back when we worked together at A&M," Deggs said. "He has since become a master recruiter. No one works harder or has a wider breadth of knowledge. He has an incredible baseball mind with experience at the highest levels. He has recruited, signed and developed many big leaguers. I fully expect J.T. to be a head coach in the coming years."
In his second year with the Ragin' Cajuns, Wells will serve as assistant coach/hitting coach on Deggs' staff. Wells' previous coaching stops saw him gain experience at Campbell, Alabama, Louisiana Tech and Mississippi State.
"Jake is an extremely hard-working, high-energy coach that has an incredibly bright future in this game," Deggs said. "Jake has won at a high level everywhere he has been, and he has a great track record of recruiting and developing players. I am really looking forward to getting to coach alongside him this upcoming season."
Outlining specific duties for each member of his staff, Deggs will oversee Louisiana's offensive efforts and coach third base. Babineaux will coordinate the program's off-the-field operation and play a vital role in fundraising and community relations. Besides his duties as recruiting coordinator, Talbot will coach first base, serve as bench coach and coordinate Louisiana's defense. Wells will oversee hitters, catchers and assist in recruiting, while Ryan will coach pitchers and assist with on-campus recruiting efforts.
Follow the Ragin' Cajuns on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram (@RaginCajuns) to stay up-to-date on all within Louisiana Athletics.
Athletic Network footnote by Dr. Ed Dugas.
B.J. Ryan was a member of the Ragin' Cajuns Baseball Team in 1997 and 1998.
Please click here for the 1997 Baseball photo gallery.
Click here for the 1998 Baseball photo gallery.
Click here for the Athletic Hall of Fame 2016 Photo Gallery - when B. J. Ryan was inducted.
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