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Simmons Field: A Tip of the Cap to Tim Jamieson

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Mizzou Baseball Head Coach Tim Jamieson's 22-year tenure came to an end today. Here's a tip of our cap to a good man and a good coach.

Missouri Head Coach Tim Jamieson
Missouri Head Coach Tim Jamieson
Photo by Trripleplay

Lots of good reporters will, I assume, now be admitting Nate Latsch was right.

The Mizzou Athletic Department announced today that Tim Jamieson will not continue as head coach of Mizzou Baseball.

Over the next several hours and days look for detailed coverage of possible candidates to replace Tim Jamieson here at RockMNation.

Jamieson was the senior baseball coach in the SEC in terms of longevity, with 22 years on the job.  He was the last remaining coach in Mizzou Athletics who was hired by former MU AD Joe Castiglione (now at Oklahoma) prior to the arrival of Mike Alden.

According to an article in the Columbia Tribune on June 4, 1994, the other finalists for the Mizzou Baseball job included Former St. Louis Cardinals pitcher John Fulgham, now the coach at Rollins College in Florida, Maine assistant Michael Coutts, and coach Quincey Noble of University of the Pacific in California. I'm guessing few reading this have ever heard of the other three.

The second-winningest coach in Mizzou Baseball history, Jamieson finished his career at Mizzou with a record of 698-565-2.

In 2009, he passed legendary head coach John "Hi" Simmons on that list and trails only Gene McArtor's 733 victories.

The Jamieson files

Tim Jamieson grew up in Columbia, MO. His father was an assistant coach with the Mizzou Football team under head coach Al Onofrio.

Tim Jamieson was a catcher during his playing days. He also played football during his prep days at Rock Bridge High School in Columbia, MO.  He was the back-up quarterback to Tim Wolfe, who until recently was the President of the University of Missouri.

He played his college ball at the University of New Orleans under head coach Ron Maestri. His teammates included current LSU coach Paul Mainieri, Rochester Red Wings manager Mike Quade, Chicago Cubs assistant general manager Randy Bush, and former Southern Illinois University coach Dan Callahan, who died in 2010.

Jamieson spent six seasons on the UNO coaching staff before returning to Columbia in 1988, where he was an assistant coach under Gene McArtor for six seasons before becoming head coach following the 1994 season.  Jamieson is a member of both the Ron Maestri and John "Hi" Simmons coaching trees.

Jamieson was the head coach of the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team in the summer of 2011. Among his assistant coaches was Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn.

Jamieson is not the Lou Pinella type, always blowing his stack and yelling, although he can certainly lose his cool at times.  He's also not the Tommy Lasorda type, the glad-hander and publicity hog.  He's always been a fairly private person.

During a game he's generally calm and quiet but intensely focused on the game and on its details. In his early years at MU, he coached 3rd base, then turned that job over to assistant coach Evan Pratte.  After Pratte shifted over to the role of Operations Director for Baseball, Jamieson soon resumed coaching at third and continued to do so for the most of the past few seasons, until turning the role over to Hunter Mense in 2015.

There were rumors that his job was on the line after the 2002 season, due to failing to qualify for the Big 12 Tournament or the NCAA Regionals for a few consecutive years.  Jamieson did make it to both post-season tournaments in 2003 and went on to do so for 7 consecutive years.

After a two year absence from the NCAA Regionals, Jamieson took the team back to the post-season in 2012, after winning Mizzou's final Big 12 Tournament. After that season, Jamieson was given a three-year contract extension, a vote of confidence as he faced taking Mizzou Baseball into the SEC, considered by many to be the most dominant conference in D-1 Baseball.

In 2013, Jamieson's squad struggled to an 18-32 record, 10-20 in the SEC.  They clinched a berth in the SEC Tournament on the final weekend of the regular season, then lost a one-and-done game to the eventual College World Series runner-up, Mississippi State. In 2014, Jamieson led the team to more wins overall than the previous season, with a 20-33 record, but only put together a 6-24 SEC record, worse than in 2013.  That record put them 7th in the SEC East, 14th in the SEC overall, and failing to reach the SEC Tournament.  For the second straight season, they were not included in the NCAA Regionals.

In 2015, Jamieson;s Tigers surprised everyone by finishing 30-28 (15-15 SEC), 3rd in the SEC East regular season rankings and 7th overall in the SEC, after being picked dead last in most pre-season polls. At one point in the season they were tied with Vanderbilt for first in the SEC East.  The Tiger's RPI was hampered by an abysmal record in mid-week games (2-7 vs. D-I opponents) and an odd 0-3 weekend against Milwaukee in early March. In the postseason they won a single game in the opening round of the SEC Tournament and then lost their next two. The NCAA selection committee was not sufficiently impressed by the Tigers' achievements and they were left out of the NCAA Regionals for the third straight season.

Baed in part on that better-than-expected season, new Mizzou Athletic Director Mack Rhoades gave Tim Jamieson a vote of confidence, or at least a a little bit of rope, by giving him a new 3-year contract.

In 2016, hopes were high for Tim Jamieson's Tigers. With Tanner Houck tabbed as the likely #1 overall draft pick in 2017 and SS Ryan Howard lauded as a high draft pick this year, Mizzou looked to make good on their slogan of #OurMoment. They could never quite built up #OurMomentum because of too many #OwMoments and they barely snuck into the SEC Tournament, but lost their single elimination game, with no nod from the NCAA selection committee remotely likely.

Whether Mack Rhoades' confidence in Coach Jamieson ran out, leading to a firm but gentle nudge to reitre, or whether Jamieson just grew tired of the hassle, we may never know the entire truth. Regardless, the Jamieson era is over for Mizzou.

High Points

Four seasons stand out to me as high points in Tim Jamieson's tenure at Mizzou

1996

Jamieson's first season, 1995, had been rough (19-34; 7th in the Big 8).  But in 1996, Jamieson led the Tigers to a regular season Big 8 Championship in the final year of the Big 8. Those teams of the late 90's were known for their hitting.  The '98 team had a team batting average of .315 and 110 home runs.  Yes, you read that right.  That was back in the day of the extremely live bats, but still - those numbers look incredible compared to the numbers put up by the team in the past three years.

2006

Jamieson led the Tigers to their first ever NCAA Regional win, in Malibu, and went on to the Fullerton Super Regional. This was Max Scherzer's sophomore year.  His performance in both the Regional and Super Regional was not up to par for his usual performance during that season. The big stars of the Regional, after an opening game loss for Scherzer put MU into the loser's bracket, were a pair of freshman pitchers.  Aaron Crow and Rick Zagone pitched back to back complete games on Sunday, each giving up only a single run, defeating UCLA and Pepperdine. Senior Taylor Parker, normally used in long relief, started the final game on Monday and kept Pepperdine scoreless for 5-2/3 innings, leading to the Tigers' Regional win.

2007

After finishing 2nd in the Big 12, with a 40-16 record, Jamieson's Tigers were headed to the 5th of what would be 7 straight Regionals for MU. Except this time, they weren't headed anywhere, because Mizzou was selected to host their first ever Regional at Taylor Stadium. That weekend remains the high point for all my years following MU Baseball, not for the way it turned out, but for the experience of seeing spill-over crowds fill Taylor Stadium with so much energy. The place was rocking, and the grins on the faces of the long-suffering faithful fans of the team were as wide as a mile. Big shots from both town and gown showed up for the games. I found myself answering a flurry of questions from the newbies around me, telling them about season tickets, the players, and the unique quirks of college baseball. Of course, then it all went into the toilet with a rush.  I shudder every time I've seen the name of Louisville's Chris Dominguez on the same roster as former Tiger Ryan Lollis as they made their way together through the San Francisco Giants' minor leagues.

2012

Jamieson had developed a reputation for taking his teams deep in the Big 12 Tourney during MU's final seasons in the conference.  They lost the 2010 championship game to Texas, 12-7.  They took Texas A&M all the way to the 10th inning of the 2011 championship game before losing, 10-9.  In 2012, after an up-and-down season,  Jamieson's Tigers tore through their final Big 12 Tournament with 4 straight wins, run-ruling the hated Kansas Jayhawks 12-2 in Game 3 and defeating the Sooners, 8-7, in the championship game.

The end of an era

Unfortunately, the past several years have been inconsistent, with more downs than ups. Most people like to blame the move to the SEC, but that doesn't really paint the whole picture.  As I've said before, the SEC is probably the best conference in D-1 baseball, but not by as much as people like to think.

Jamieson's downfall had its roots in the five years preceding the 2015 season, when the team compiled a record of 127-151. Even in the final Big 12 season, when the Tigers won the Big 12 Tournament, their regular season record was 28-26, just 12-14  in the Big 12. Without that tournament win, Mizzou would almost certainly not have received an invitation to the NCAA Regionals. Altogether, that adds up to missing the Regionals 6 out of the past 7 seasons, not a good record.

And that's been the complaint all along. Even in the good years, even when Tim Jamieson managed to get his team into the Regionals, they were barely making it most of those years. Apparently Mack Rhoades has decided he expects more.

Whatever the cause, and there are probably several factors, Jamieson's long run as Mizzou's head coach came to an end with a whimper this week. I've always said that Tim Jamieson is a good man and a good coach, even if he's not one of the greats.  He runs a clean program, and he has always earned my respect. I wish him well in whatever is next for him.

Here's a final Tip of the Cap to Coach J.