At the end of the 2022 baseball season, it became official that Claflin University baseball head coach James Randall officially retired and Athletic Director Tony O’Neal has some work to do in finding a replacement.
Randall helped turn the program from mediocrity in a short period of time. Randall took over a team in the 2008 season that had only nine players and has built the Panther program into one of the most competitive ones in the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC). In 2016, the Panthers captured the team’s first-ever SIAC championship and the school’s second automatic bid to the NCAA Division II Championships.
Randall played collegiate baseball and graduated from Grambling State University and was drafted by the California Angels. Randall played major league baseball for eight seasons, including stint with the Chicago White Sox, as well as the Angels. He had his major league debut with the White Sox in 1988.
In replacing a coach like Randall, AD O’Neal has the unfortunate task of doing so.
Here are two potential replacement options. And in my opinion, these are the only two guys worth making a serious run for the Claflin job.
Tristan Toorie, Anderson University Assistant Coach
Toorie has been successful everywhere he has gone. Toorie joined the Anderson University baseball coaching staff in 2019. He previously served Erskine College as the recruiting coordinator and third base coach, as well as the hitting and catching coach, while helping lead Erskine to the National Cristian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) South Region Tournament.
Four seasons ago, Toorie served as an assistant coach/recruiting coordinator at Alcorn State. During his time at Alcorn, the Braves improved in every offensive statistical category and made it to the third round of the 2018 Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) Baseball Championship Tournament. Toorie worked with hitters, infielders, and the defense.
Prior to Alcorn State, Toorie served as the defensive coordinator and coached the outfielders and hitters at Eastern Kentucky University. He also assisted the team with recruiting. Under Toorie coaching career, he has coached 34 student-athletes that have gone on to continue their career in professional baseball, including one in the major leagues.
Under his guidance, Toorie has helped guide 11 players to all-conference honors, two players received All-America accolades, 12 players have garnered academic all-conference including one academic All-America honoree.
Scott Nestor Villanova University Volunteer Assistant Coach
Nestor joined Villanova in the fall of 2021 as the volunteer assistant coach. He works specifically with the catchers and assists the offense.
Prior to Villanova, Coach Nestor was the hitting coach and recruiting coordinator at Savannah State University. In his first season he helped lead the Tigers to their first winning season since 2013. Under Nestor, the Tigers were ranked in the top 50 in Division II offensive statistics categories. Savannah State was the top seed in the inaugural 2021 HBCU Black College World Series in Montgomery, Alabama.
Before coaching at Savannah State, Nestor was an assistant baseball coach at Rochester College in 2013 as the pitching coach. He helped Rochester to back-to-back small college world series appearances in 2014 and 2015. Nestor also developed seven United States Christian Athletic Association (USCAA) academic All-Americans and the 2015 USCAA Student Athlete of the year.
In 2012, Nestor was the head coach at Seaholm High School in Birmingham, Michigan. Under Nestor, Seaholm’s went 31-11 in the two seasons under Nestor.
Nestor started his coaching career as an instructor at the Varsity Shop Training Center in Bloomfield, Michigan. During his time with the program, he assisted in the development of over 120 student athletes to continue their academic and playing careers at the collegiate level and 9 players would play professionally.
Black College Nines sources are stating Claflin is expected to announce the hiring of the new head baseball coach this Friday.