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Wednesday, June 10, 2009 | Baseball
Illinois State Introduces Mark Kingston as Head Baseball Coach
NORMAL, Ill. Illinois State Director of Athletics Dr. Sheahon Zenger formally introduced Mark Kingston as the Redbirds’ ninth head baseball coach Wednesday, starting a new era for the program. Kingston, who served as the team’s associate head coach during the 2009 season, replaces Jim Brownlee, who retired after seven seasons at ISU and 30 seasons overall.
Kingston gave the Redbirds an immediate boost after joining the coaching staff last summer, signing one of the most talented fall recruiting classes in recent years. The 2009 Redbirds posted their first winning season and first postseason appearance since 2001. Kingston, who helped Illinois State set school records for wins and scoring as an assistant in 1999, sparked improvement on offense and defense as the Redbirds raised their team batting average and fielding percentage from the 2008 season.
"When we set out on the search for a coach a year ago, we looked for candidates who fit three criteria: strong pedigree, successful recruiting and someone who was right for Illinois State," said Zenger. "Mark Kingston has coached for some of the best college baseball programs in the nation, he has been a highly successful recruiter and he is a great fit for Illinois State."
Prior to returning to Illinois State, Kingston spent seven years as recruiting coordinator at Tulane University and served as an assistant on the Miami team that won the 2001 College World Series. He has coached at the collegiate level for 13 years, reaching 500 wins as an assistant in 2009, and was widely respected throughout the sport as one of the top assistants in the nation.
The Northern Virginia native played professionally for five seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers and Chicago Cubs organizations. Drafted by the Brewers out of North Carolina in 1992, Kingston spent one season with Milwaukee's rookie-level team before going on to play for Peoria (A), Daytona (Advanced A) and Orlando (AA) in the Cubs organization.
As a player at North Carolina, Kingston was part of the 1989 Tar Heels squad that won an Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season title and advanced to the College World Series, and helped the team win the ACC Tournament and advance to NCAA Regionals in 1990 as a sophomore. Kingston received the Trippe Bourne "Most Dedicated Player" Award for his outstanding work ethic and leadership during his junior campaign, and was named a team captain his senior season.
Kingston attended Potomac High School, where he developed into a Collegiate Baseball Top-50 Prospect and was drafted by the New York Yankees after leading his team to the 1988 state championship. In 2006, Kingston was inducted into the Potomac Hall of Fame.
Kingston and his wife, the former Letitia Kelly, have three children, Kailyn Grace, Cameron James and Kathryn Patricia. He also wrote and produced two instructional videos for Championship Productions, "Keys to Consistent Hitting" and "Catching Drills and Fundamentals". He also was the only assistant coach chosen to write a chapter in "The Baseball Drill Book" produced by the American Baseball Coaches Association.