Baseball Returns to Xavier University of Louisiana in 2021 After Six-Decade Absence

As part of the rejuvenation of baseball at Xavier University of Louisiana, the Gold Rush will start play early in February for the 2021 season. This marks the return of collegiate baseball competition for the first time since 1960. The University was working closely with the athletic department to relaunched the baseball program when they announced in early January 2020 that baseball would be rejuvenated and now look to carry that momentum into the 2020-2021 academic season after a six-decade absence.

Xavier knew the return of baseball was going to be a major challenge. During the 2018 meeting of the University board of trustees, members voted to approve a recommendation by the college’s administration to restart men’s baseball and add it to it’s athletic offerings. The proposal had been researched and discussed at the college for nearly two years.

The addition of the sport will enable the school to serve a wider population of students and help meet strategic goals. The addition of the athletic team aligns with strategic planning by increasing yearly degree completion and the increase in revenue from the additional credit hours.

The baseball program as well as the rest of the athletic department was shut down in 1960 due to budget cuts after ending the 1959 season.

The recommendation to revive baseball was thoughtful and grounded in data analysis. The athletic program will ultimately cover their expenses through a combination of tuition, general fees and course fees while also using student activity fees and scholarships. This is expected to see an excess in revenue that will be used to support the operations of the athletic department.

The Gold Rush posted a search for a head coach which lead to the hiring in January of 2020 of Andrian Holloway who coached Selma University before the school shut down the baseball program after the conclusion of the 2019 season.

Holloway was the head coach the past six seasons (2014-19) at Selma University. During that time the Bulldogs’ accomplishments included a 117-59 (.665) record, six consecutive national tournament appearances, World Series appearances in the United States Collegiate Athletic Association in 2019, 2018 and 2014, No. 1 power rankings in the USCAA in 2019 and 2018, plus a No. 1 ranking in the USCAA in 2014, ranking in Black College Nines’ HBCU baseball small school top 10 polls, the National Christian College Athletic Association: No. 6 in 2015 and No. 10 in 2016, and individuals selected for 11 HBCU All-America awards.

The Holloway hiring was a huge milestone for the program because he simply expects his players to compete on the field and in the classroom.

Following Holloway’s hiring, he was greeted with several issues that needed speedy attention…  not having a roster, the lack of a practice facility leading up to the season and finding a coaching staff.

Holloway almost never made it to Xavier. He was hired as a assistant coach at Florida A&M University, then budget cuts nixed the deal.

The trajectory that Xavier has been on as an institution is incredibly attractive. The athletic department has mirrored that and done some amazing things. The move to leave the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference (GCAC) and join the Red River Athletic Conference (RRAC) for the 2022 season, provides baseball the ability to present itself on a more national level and win on an elite level.

Holloway stated “I hit the ground running when I got to New Orleans back in January to find the best talent we could find to relaunch baseball at Xavier University of Louisiana. I wanted to bring in a good mix of experience and talented freshmen. We targeted JUCO guys, DI transfers and freshmen who we felt could come in and contribute immediately. We landed five D1 transfers, lots of JUCO transfers and a good group of freshmen. We were able to get some practice in this fall with respect to the COVID crisis going on. We were able to practice in groups, and fortunately no COVID cases. We are possibly adding 10 more guys to the roster for the Spring semester starting in January. That will give us more depth and talent. The players, my staff and I are super excited to kick off the first baseball season for Xavier since 1960. We will play our home games at Wesley Barrow Stadium, home of the MLB Urban Youth Academy. Our season opener will be February 5th and 6th vs Morehouse here in beautiful New Orleans.” 

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