December 17, 2013 - Coastal Plain League (Coastal Plain) - High Point-Thomasville HiToms
HIGH POINT-THOMASVILLE, N.C. - The High Point-Thomasville HiToms have hired Austin Love as their field manager for the 2014 season. Love played for the HiToms during the 2001 Coastal Plain League season and will be the fourth former HiTom to take the reigns at Finch Field.
A native of Statesville, NC, Love joins the HiToms after spending the 2013 summer at the helm of the Wilson Tobs. Under his leadership, the Tobs posted a 29-24 overall record while also recording impressive offensive statistics in runs scored (254) and team on-base percentage (.339). Prior to his managerial stint in Wilson, Love served seven seasons as the assistant head coach and recruiting coordinator for the North Carolina A&T Aggies. As the first assistant in school history, Love played an integral role in the Aggies' ascension to a perennial MEAC contender. Spearheading recruiting and also assisting in the entire program's revival, Love's leadership helped the Aggies establish a school record for wins three times while also notching the program's first 30 win season.
"Austin's direct familiarity with the Coastal Plain League, coupled with his myriad collegiate accomplishments, as both coach and player, demonstrate that he understands the physical and mental challenges of competitive collegiate baseball." HiToms General Manager, Nick Gaski said. "He has a proven track record of success and embodies the same ideals as the HiToms organization. His baseball IQ, experience and desire for success are traits of Austin's that I'm confident will help guide the HiToms to a winning 2014 campaign."
While at A&T, Love spent his first six seasons as the Aggie pitching coach. Under Love's direction, N.C. A&T had two pitchers break school records for wins (10): Timmy Johnson (2008) and Nick Rogers (2010), three pitchers: Michael Hauff (2006), Johnson and Marquis Frink (2008) recorded 100+ strikeouts and finished the season nationally ranked and one hurler: Esterlin Paulinogarner the MEAC Pitcher of the Year Award (2010).
Love was also heavily involved in the offense serving as the Aggies third base coach in 2011-12. Hitting over .300 three times in Love's seven years on staff, the Aggies position players collected some hardware as well. Three N.C A&T players: Xavier Macklin (2009), Kelvin Freeman (2010), and Luke Tendler (2011) were named to the Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American team along with Tendler (2011) collecting first team status on the Baseball America All -American Freshman squad. Five Aggies were drafted during his tenure in Greensboro, NC with the most recent being former Wilson Tob and Rocky Mount, NC native Xavier Macklin in the 2011 Amateur Baseball Draft by the Oakland Athletics.
"Austin did an outstanding job last summer in Wilson," HiToms President Greg Suire said. "His leadership, passion and commitment were integral components of the Tobs' success. I'm quite sure that he'll have this same impact with the HiToms.
Prior to joining the staff at North Carolina A&T State University Love played for the Aggies under Keith Shumate earning All-MEAC honors twice while playing multiple positions for the Aggies, his best season being in 2004 when he hit .358 with 10 homeruns, 15 doubles, 41 R.B.I. and 13 stolen bases.
"It's a blessing to return to the HiToms, where I played in 2001," Love said. "Since then my relationship with Greg and his staff has continued and I'm excited about the opportunity to manage my former team, while also remaining close to home. My staff and I plan to continue the winning tradition of HiToms baseball and hope to bring the Petitt Cup back to its home in Thomasville."
Love graduated in 2004 with a Bachelor's of Science in Mechanical Engineering. He and his wife, Jennifer, reside in Winston-Salem and are proud parents of Austin "Ace" Love IV.