First coaching search fits with credentials of new Trevecca AD

Tuesday, July 12, 2011 at 6:50pm

Mark Elliott admits there are certain things he must learn on the job as the new athletics director at Trevecca Nazarene University.

One of his first duties, though, falls well within his expertise. He needs to hire a baseball coach.

“I’ve been on the field,” Elliott said. “I’m going to hire a baseball coach based on his ability to integrate the vision of the school into the athletic department, has the ability to love and teach kids, and is technically sound and solid and knows how to coach baseball.

“I’ve played professional baseball and I’ve played in college. I know a lot about what is necessary for that guy to be that way.”

For the past 17 years, Elliott has been in business, first with Fitness Systems and most recently at A-Game Sportsplex in Franklin.

“I know business organization because I’ve been in a business,” he said. “When it comes down to being an athletics director and knowing, ‘This is how you raise money; this is an organizational flow chart of the department,’ that isn’t going to be me.”

Former baseball coach Jonathan Burton resigned roughly six weeks ago after three seasons and 99 victories and left a hole that has not yet been filled. He was the 2011 TranSouth Conference coach of the year but took a similar position at Lindsey Wilson College, an NAIA program in Columbia, Ky.

Assistant coach Matt Thomas has served as the interim director of baseball operations since.

Elliott, who was introduced as the university’s 14th athletics director on Tuesday, played college baseball (as well as basketball) at Vanderbilt before a five-year minor league career in the New York Mets’ organization.

He considers the completion of Trevecca’s coaching roster a critical first step in his tenure.

“One of my first priorities is friendship with the coaches on that staff,” Elliott said. “Create cohesion. Create a team. Create a family.”