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David Sparkman

 FCA Greater South Plains Area Representative

 

 

David Sparkman has been associated with FCA for almost all of his coaching career. He graduated from Alice High School and received his BS Degree from Texas A&M in 1979.  His coaching career began in 1980 in Cuero, where he first learned about serving as a Huddle Leader for FCA.  After coaching stints in Sugarland, Grand Prairie, and Lubbock Coronado, he became Head Coach and AD at Panhandle High School in 1998.  He coached a 14-1 football team to the state semifinals in 2003, earning Super Team Coach of the Year honors from the Amarillo Globe.  Since, he has served at Canyon and Shallowater High School. Sparkman comes to the South Plains FCA after serving as Defensive Coordinator at Wayland Baptist University since 2011.  Area Director, Terry Kinard recalls, "In 2010, when we began to rebuild our local FCA, I traveled to every high school and junior high in our 28 counties.  I found only 18 FCA Huddles.  David, and his wife, Kellye were keeping the one at Shallowater alive and functioning.  He has attended FCA Camps and taken athletes there; he understands our mission. We are so blessed he is now a member ofour staff!"

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mitch Thompson

Head Baseball Coach- McLennan Community College

 

Since taking over the Highlander baseball team as head coach in 2013, Mitch Thompson has returned the program to a level of success it was widely recognized for in the past.

 

In his first year, Thompson led the Highlanders to a third-place finish in conference play and a regional tournament berth. The team advanced to the regional championship game before falling to Midland and ending the season with an overall record of 32-27.

 

Success continued for Thompson and the Highlanders in his second year at the helm. The squad finished fourth in the North Texas Junior College Athletic Conference (NTJCAC) race and went on to claim the Region V Championship to earn the program’s first JUCO World Series berth since 1983. The Highlanders continued to excel in Grand Junction, finishing as the runners-up after falling to Northwest Florida in the championship game and ending the season with an overall record of 41-20. The Highlanders’ garnered Thompson the Region V Coach of the Year honor and Sportsman of the Year award from the Waco Tribune-Herald.

 

Thompson and the Highlanders continued their winning ways in 2016, claiming the NTJCAC Championship with a 25-7 record and a return trip to the Region V Tournament. The team ended the season with an overall record of 45-12 and Thompson was named the NTJCAC Coach of Year.

 

In Thompson’s three years leading the program, 15 players have earned NTJCAC all-conference honors and 42 players have moved on to play at four-year schools, including 34 at the Division I level. Five Highlanders have also signed Major League Baseball contracts.

 

Thompson’s teams have also seen success in the classroom. The program has recorded six consecutive semesters with a team GPA above 3.0, earning NJCAA All-Academic Team Honorable Mention awards in 2015 (3.13 GPA) and 2016 (3.19 GPA). In three years, eight players have received NJCAA Academic Achievement Awards.

 

Before joining the McLennan staff, Thompson spent a season as the South Texas-area scouting supervisor for the Kansas City Royals.

 

Thompson is no stranger to the Central Texas baseball scene, having spent 18 years on the coaching staff at Baylor University. He joined the Baylor staff in 1994 as an assistant coach, recruiting coordinator and hitting coach, and was promoted to assistant head coach in 2009. His recruiting classes ranked among the top 25 nationally six times and of those players, 72 moved on to MLB contracts. Thompson helped lead the Bears to three Big 12 Conference Championships, 12 NCAA regional tournament appearances, three super regional appearances and a trip to the College World Series in 2005. That success garnered him the Baseball America/American Baseball Coaches Association National Assistant Baseball Coach of the Year honor in 2006.

 

Before Baylor, Thompson spent a year as an assistant coach and defensive coordinator at Auburn University, working with catchers and outfielders. He helped lead the Tigers to an appearance in the College World Series.

 

Thompson began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Mississippi State University. Thompson spent the 1991 season as an assistant coach at Radford University. He then returned to Mississippi State as an assistant coach and director of baseball operations for two years.

 

As a player, Thompson spent a year at Cloud County Community College and a year at Bacone College before transferring to Fort Hays State University. He was a two-year letterman at Fort Hays State, serving as a captain his senior season, and was a two-time academic all-conference selection. He spent the summer of 1987 playing in Campus Crusade for Christ’s Athletes in Action program in Europe.

 

Thompson earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education from Fort Hays State in 1988, graduating Cum Laude. He received his master’s degree from Mississippi State in 1991.

 

He and his wife, Amber, have two daughters, Mary Conley and Caroline.

 

Coaching experience

2013-present: Head coach, McLennan Community College

2009-12: Assistant head coach/recruiting coordinator, Baylor University

1995-2009: Assistant coach/recruiting coordinator, Baylor University

1994-95: Assistant coach/defensive coordinator, Auburn University

1993-94: Volunteer assistant coach, Mississippi State University

1991-93: Assistant coach/director of baseball operations, Mississippi State University

1990-91: Assistant coach, Radford University

1989-90: Graduate assistant coach, Mississippi State University

 

Playing experience

1985-88: Fort Hays State University

1984-85: Bacone College

1983-84: Cloud County Community College

Summer 1987: Athletes in Action

 

Education

1991: Master’s in physical education, Mississippi State University

1988: Bachelor’s in physical education, Fort Hays State University

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Todd Weldon

Pitching Coach- Wayland Baptist University

 

Weldon rejoined the Pioneer family after playing in the New York Mets organization and independent ball for three years.  Todd originally came to Wayland in 2009 where he proved to be a valuable member of the Pioneer baseball team’s most successful season when he led the team in wins with 11, strikeouts (120), and innings pitched (65.1).  Weldon’s success continued in 2010 when he was drafted in the 27th round by the Mets.  Weldon had the privilege of playing under pitching coach Frank Viola, a World Series MVP in 1987 and Cy Young Award winner in 1988, while playing for the Brooklyn Cyclones in 2010 and 2011.  In 2011 Weldon was named to the New York-Penn League All-Star Game where he recorded a save by striking out the final two batters of the game.  Todd, who received his master's degree from Wayland in 2015, is married to the former Devon Allen. They have a son.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jeremy West

Head Baseball Coach- Stamford High School

 

 

Currently the Head Baseball Coach and Offensive Coordinator/QBs coach at Stamford (TX) HS.  Have also had other assistant coaching stops at McGregor, Holliday, Knox City and City View (Wichita Falls) all in TX.

 

Have been at Stamford for 11 years, the first 8 as the asst baseball coach. Was previously the head baseball coach at City View HS in Wichita Falls. Have been blessed to be a part of 6 state tourney appearances and in the regional finals 8 times in an 18 year career, including as an asst at Holliday HS (state tourney 2001 and reg finals in 2000).

 

 

 

 

Matt Gardner

Volunteer Assistant Coach- Texas Tech University

 

Originally from Vernon, TX and an alum of Vernon Regional Junior College, Midwestern State Univ and Sul Ross State Univ. Father of 4 Boys and husband to wife Mindy.

 

Matt Gardner enters his third season as the volunteer assistant baseball coach at Texas Tech in 2016 where he assists with the Red Raider pitching staff and catchers while also working with the outfielders. Gardner, who began his collegiate playing career for Tim Tadlock at Grayson County College in 2005, came to Tech following two seasons as pitching coach at Lubbock Christian University (2012-13). He previously spent three seasons as a graduate assistant coach (2009) and volunteer assistant coach (2010-11) at his alma mater, Oklahoma State.

 

Since Gardner's arrival, Tech has had eight pitchers that have been selected in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft or that have signed a free agent contract. Tech had five pitchers selected in the 2015 MLB Draft alone, matching the most in program history, as Matt Withrow, Corey Taylor and Dominic Moreno were all drafted in the first eight rounds. Taylor recorded one of the best seasons in NCAA history in 2015 as the senior led the country with a 0.31 ERA that was the sixth-lowest in NCAA history and the lowest for any Division-I pitcher since Al Holland (North Carolina A&T) in 1975. His impressive year snapped both the Texas Tech and Big 12 records for ERA as he allowed just two earned runs over 57.1 innings. Taylor, a seventh round draft selection by the New York Mets, was named a third team All-American by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA), marking the first time a Tech pitcher has earned All-America honors since John Neely in 2011. The Red Raiders have posted consecutive 30-win seasons in each of the last two years with Gardner on staff, marking the first time Tech has done so since the 2005 and 2006 campaigns. Tech has combined for 76 victories the past two seasons, the most over a two-year span since 2001-02 (85 wins). Tech closed the 2015 season at 31-24 overall and 13-11 in Big 12 play, which secured a third-place finish in the Big 12 standings, its highest since the 2004 season. The Red Raiders, who have combined for 27 wins against conference foes the past two seasons, their most since 2001-02, have finished among the top four teams in the Big 12 in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 2001-02. The Tech pitching staff closed the 2015 season with a 3.33 ERA, marking the second-straight year Tech has posted a team ERA of 3.40 or lower. The Red Raiders had not previously accomplished that feat since the 1970 and 1971 seasons. Tech allowed just 184 earned runs overall, its fewest since giving up 176 in 1994. In addition, Tech also snapped the single-season record with a 3.21 team ERA during Big 12 play. Taylor and Moreno were dominant against conference foes as the duo combined to allow just five earned runs while posting 0.55 and 1.09 ERAs.

 

Taylor and fellow senior Cameron Smith were both recognized following the season on the All-Big 12 first team while Moreno was a second team honoree. Smith's selection marked the first time a Tech starting pitcher had been named to the first team since Brandon Roberson in 2001. Taylor, meanwhile, was the first Red Raider reliever to garner first-team recognition since Steve Rowe in 2002. Smith completed his two seasons on the Red Raider pitching staff with a 2.81 career ERA, seventh-lowest in Tech history, while Moreno ended his career eighth overall with a 2.97 ERA. Their two career ERAs rank fifth and sixth, respectively, in the aluminum bat era (since 1974), while Taylor is 10th in that category with a 3.30 career ERA. Gardner helped lead the Red Raider pitching staff to their best season in school history in 2014 -- Gardner's first season on the Texas Tech staff. The Red Raiders historic season included winning the NCAA Coral Gables Regional, NCAA Lubbock Super Regional and making Tech's first-ever appearance at the College World Series in Omaha. The Red Raiders won 45 games in 2014 -- the fourth most wins in school history while Gardner assisted pitching coach Ray Hayward with the pitching staff that set numerous school records, including shutouts (9), ERA during the aluminum bat era -- since 1974 (3.11), times holding opponents to two runs or fewer (30), innings pitched (587.2) and ERA during Big 12 play (4.09). Tech's 2014 postseason run was centered on one of the most dynamic pitching efforts in recent memory. The Red Raiders posted a 0.76 ERA in eight NCAA Tournament games while recording 64 scoreless innings (72 total innings pitched) with 27 consecutive scoreless innings during three straight shutouts -- one to clinch the Coral Gables Regional title and back-to-back 1-0 shutouts over College of Charleston in the Lubbock Super Regional to advance to the CWS. In fact, it marked the first time in NCAA history that a team shutout their opponents 1-0 in back-to-back games in a Super Regional. Only once in the Super Regional era (since 1999) had a team advanced to Omaha with back-to-back shutouts (LSU -- 2002). Tech tied an NCAA all-time record with four shutouts in the 2014 NCAA Tournament, a feat that had only previously been accomplished by Cal State Fullerton (2004), Pepperdine (1992), Arizona State (1972), Florida State (1970), St. John's (1968) and Wake Forest (1955). In addition, entering the 2014 postseason, the Red Raiders had played 33 games in the NCAA Tournament and had never posted a shutout. It marked the first time Tech had three consecutive shutouts since 1976.

 

Tech's postseason was also highlighted by recording the first shutout in school history in the NCAA Tournament while in the process handing Miami (Fla.) its first shutout in the postseason since 1995. During Tech's 3-0 shutout over the Hurricanes, left-handed pitcher Dylan Dusek became the first freshman in Tech history to make a start in the postseason. The following game, fellow freshman Ryan Moseley pitched six scoreless innings in the second-straight start by a Red Raider freshman pitcher. The Red Raiders experienced the biggest turnaround in school history in 2014 with 45 wins a year after winning 26 games. The turnaround marked the second biggest in Big 12 history. The Red Raiders posted a 40-win season for just the sixth time in school history in 2014 while going 14-10 in Big 12 play for a fourth-place finish. Tech's 14 conference wins marked its most since 2004. Tech won 12 games against nationally-ranked opponents in Hayward's second season -- the most by the Red Raiders since 1998. Tech was nationally ranked for 18 consecutive weeks -- ranked as high as No. 7 before finishing the year at No. 8, tying the school record for highest end of the year ranking. Tech finished the 2014 season tying a school record with 33 home wins. The Red Raiders finished the season breaking a school record with 16 straight home wins to finish a season -- the streak marked the longest active home win streak in the nation. Tech's pitching staff ranked 14th in the nation in shutouts and finished third in the Big 12 in both ERA (3.11) and opponent batting average (.248). Three pitchers ranked among the top four in the league in statistical categories as Chris Sadberry's 17 starts ranked second, Smith ranked fourth in shutouts (1) and also opponent batting average (.211) and Dusek broke a Big 12 freshman record with a 1.94 ERA which ranked fourth in the league among all pitchers. Sadberry earned All-Big 12 second team and was named Big 12 Newcomer of the Week during the 2014 season. Dusek became the first left-handed pitcher in school history to be named a Freshman All-American in 2014.

 

Gardner helped mentored three pitchers that were drafted or signed free agent contracts in 2014 -- none of them had previously been drafted. Sadberry was drafted in the sixth round by the Miami Marlins, Moreno was selected in the 33rd round by the St. Louis Cardinals and senior left-handed pitcher Jonny Drozd signed a free agent contract with the New York Yankees. Just before arriving at Tech, Gardner was the pitching coach for the Chatham Anglers in the Cape Cod League during the summer of 2013. He helped lead the Anglers to the President's Trophy, awarded annually to the team with the best overall record (26-17). During his summer in the Cape, Gardner coached Red Raider catcher Hunter Redman and right-handed pitcher Dominic Moreno. He helped guide the Anglers to the Cape Cod League Eastern Division title while working with a pitching staff that tallied 332 strikeouts -- ranking second in the league -- which was anchored by the Cape Cod League's Most Outstanding Pitcher, Lukas Schiraldi. Also on his pitching staff was right-handed pitcher Tommy Lawrence, who was awarded the league's John Claffey Award, given to the top Cape Cod League Prospect from New England. Gardner's pitching staff posted a 3.33 ERA -- the Anglers' lowest team ERA since 2010 -- while eight of his pitchers posted an ERA under 2.00. Schiraldi led the league with a 1.20 ERA in seven starts going 4-1 with 37.2 innings pitched with 27 strikeouts and 10 walks allowed. Lawrence went 3-0 with a 1.60 ERA with eight appearances (5 starts) with 33.2 innings pitched, 29 strikeouts and just three walks allowed. In addition, Anglers long-time manager, John Schiffner, was awarded Cape Cod League Coach of the Year honors for just the second time during his 20-year career in the Cape. During Gardner's final season at LCU in 2013, the Chaps finished the season 44-17 overall and received a national ranking as high as No. 4 in the country while he led a pitching staff that broke a school record with three Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft selections. Gardner's pitching staff ranked in the top 25 in the nation in strikeouts in back-to-back seasons at LCU while his top pitcher in 2012, Tyler Rogers, ranked third in the country with 122 strikeouts and his ace pitcher in 2013, Derek Loera, a 28th round draft pick, was 18th in NAIA with 10 wins and 19th in the nation with 89 strikeouts. During his two campaigns at LCU the Chaps won 79 games, had 12 All-Sooner Athletic Conference selections and six NAIA All-America selections. LCU received a national ranking during every week of the season during Gardner's two seasons with eight rankings inside the top 10 in the nation.

 

While at Oklahoma State, Gardner assisted then-head coach Frank Anderson with the pitching duties during the 2010-11 seasons and worked with the team's catchers as a graduate assistant coach in 2009. Gardner's final season at OSU in 2011, the Cowboys pitching staff recorded a 3.79 ERA -- the program's lowest team ERA in 36 years (since 1974). During his first season assisting with the pitching staff, Oklahoma State ranked fifth in the nation averaging 8.9 strikeouts per nine innings. OSU advanced to a pair of NCAA Regionals during Gardner's time on the coaching staff with an appearance at the 2009 Clemson Regional (2-2 record) and advancing to the 2011 Nashville Regional. The Cowboys posted a 98-75 overall record from 2009-11. Gardner coached 21 MLB draft picks at Oklahoma State -- 10 of which were pitchers while five OSU players were selected in the top-10 rounds of the MLB Draft. In addition to coaching over 20 draft picks at his alma mater, Gardner mentored 18 All-Big 12 selections, 21 Academic All-Big 12 honorees, two Big 12 Pitchers of the Week and one All-American. Gardner's coaching career also includes a pair of assistant coaching stints at the junior college level while coaching the fall of 2009 at Ranger College and the fall of 2010 at Midland College. A Friday-night starter at Oklahoma State for two seasons, Gardner was an All-Big 12 selection and Academic All-Big 12 award winner during his three-year career (2006-08) as a student-athlete with a 16-6 career record with a 4.89 ERA with 39 appearances, 30 starts, two complete games, 173.0 innings pitched and 108 strikeouts with 40 walks in three seasons (2006-08) as a Cowboy. He helped lead OSU to three-consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, which included a trip to an NCAA Super Regional in 2007. Gardner and the Cowboys captured three straight 40-win seasons, something that hadn't been accomplished in Stillwater since 1997-99. Twice he was named OSU's Opening Day starter during his sophomore and junior seasons. He was named to the 2006 NCAA Fayetteville Regional All-Tournament team while recording a 7-3 record with 18 appearances, 10 starts, 83.1 innings pitched and 51 strikeouts. Also in 2006, Gardner ranked fourth in the Big 12 in complete games (2) and fifth in the league in wins (5) during Big 12 play.

 

His junior season the Cowboys advanced to the NCAA Louisville Super Regional after going 3-0 and winning the Fayetteville Regional. As a senior, the Cowboys finished their season hosting a regional in Stillwater going 2-2 and finishing a game away from back-to-back Super Regional appearances. His final season at OSU the Cowboys led the Big 12 with a 3.98 team ERA. Gardner was a 32nd round MLB Draft pick in 2007 by the Los Angeles Dodgers following his junior season at OSU. He began his collegiate career playing for Tim Tadlock at Grayson County College in 2005 while helping the Vikings to a 45-13 overall record and to a conference championship while being named an NCAA Honorable Mention All-American. He ranked eighth in the nation during his freshman year in wins going 10-1 with a 3.93 ERA in 73.1 innings with 62 strikeouts and 24 walks allowed. Gardner was also a catcher during his first college season batting .310 (40-for-129) with five home runs and 33 RBI. He was a 48th round selection in the 2005 MLB Draft by the Seattle Mariners. Gardner earned his bachelor's degree from Oklahoma State University with a degree in education in 2008. He is originally from Andrews, Texas, graduating from Andrews High School in 2004. Matt is the son of Rodney Gardner and Vickie Gardner, both graduates of Lubbock Christian University. His father, Rodney, was a 1975 All-American at LCU playing under former Tech head coach Larry Hays. Rodney went on to coach locally in Lubbock as well as at Abernathy and Estacado High School.

Gardner was born in Lubbock on November 2, 1984. He and his wife Laiken were married in October 2015.

 

THE GARDNER FILE:

2013-Present - Texas Tech (Volunteer Assistant Coach)

2013 (Summer) - Chatham Anglers (Pitching Coach)

2011-2013 - Lubbock Christian (Pitching Coach)

2011 - Oklahoma State (Volunteer Assistant Coach)

2010 (Fall) - Midland College (Assistant Coach)

2010 - Oklahoma State (Volunteer Assistant Coach)

2009 (Fall) - Ranger College (Assistant Coach)

2008-2009 - Oklahoma State (Graduate Assistant Coach)

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