BREAKING NEWS: Lenoir-Rhyne University fires head baseball coach

Published Wednesday, April 24th, 2019

Tom Fleenor had been on leave for undisclosed reasons since mid-April; Frank is interim head coach

HICKORY – Eight days after placing him on paid administrative leave without comment, Lenoir-Rhyne University on Wednesday terminated head baseball coach Tom Fleenor.

In an e-mail from the athletic department, the Bears said Fleenor’s six-year run as their head coach is over and a national search for a new head coach will begin immediately.

“We are committed to the success of our baseball program and providing our student-athletes the best possible experience including competing for championships as well as preparing them for success in life,” LRU Athletic Director Kim Pate said in the e-mail. “I wish Coach Fleenor nothing but the best in his future endeavors.”

The Bears finished 23-27 overall after going 2-6 in the eight games that assistant coach Chaz Frank served as head coach after Fleenor was put on leave on April 16. LRU won at Barton on April 10 in what turned out to be Fleenor’s last game as head coach.

Frank will be the interim head baseball coach, the press release said.

The Bears were swept by Wingate in a three-game series, beat Limestone in a non-league game, lost three games at Tusculum and closed the regular season with a 15-14, 10-inning win against Erskine with Frank guiding the team.

Fleenor exits with a record of 150-136 and a 59-91 record in the South Atlantic Conference (SAC).

LRU went 7-17 in the SAC this season, tying Coker for eighth place, and did not qualify for the league tournament that begins Thursday in Kodak, Tenn.

LRU declined further comment when it made the decision to place Fleenor on paid administrative leave and has not commented or given a reason for that decision.

Fleenor came to LRU in 2013, hired by the late Neill McGeachy when he was AD, and replaced Paul Knight. Knight was fired after the Bears went 114-179 in six seasons, and he is now in his second year as head baseball coach at Middle Georgia State.

Fleenor left USC Sumter after six seasons (242-103 record) to accept McGeachy’s offer to coach the Bears.

LRU had had six players drafted by major league baseball teams during Fleenor’s tenure with two draft picks in each of the last two drafts.

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