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Nicholls State University - Baseball
Nicholls State University - Baseball

 

COACHING STAFF

WALT JONES  |  ASSISTANT COACH / RECRUITING COORDINATOR

Walt Jones was promoted to Recruiting Coordinator for the Nicholls baseball program following the 2015 season and continues to serve as Hitting Coach and Outfielders Coach for the Colonels.

In 2015, Jones helped the Colonels turn in back-to-back 30-win seasons for the first time since 1992-93.

Jones joined the Colonels as a hitting coach in the fall of 2014 and helped Nicholls reach a 32-26 record, with a 20-10 mark in Southland Conference action.
 
Jones brings a wealth of knowledge from his playing career at L.B. Wallace Community College and Nicholls State University. He graduated in 2008 with a degree in General Studies and a minor in Business Administration. Under the direction of Chip Durham, Jones played baseball at Nicholls and served as a two-year starter and leadoff hitter. Prior to Nicholls, Jones played baseball at Lurleen B. Wallace Community College and football at the University of North Alabama.

After graduating from Nicholls in 2008, Jones was named the Nicholls Athletics graduate assistant before becoming the Colonel Club graduate assistant, serving one year for each.

In 2009, he joined the Colonel baseball staff. Jones served two seasons as the Director of Baseball Operations and one season as the volunteer assistant, working with the Nicholls hitters and outfielders and coordinating base-running efforts.
 
Jones spent the 2013 season at Chipola College in Florida, where he assisted with all aspects of the baseball program including coordinating the Indians' recruiting efforts and academic progress.

Following his time at Chipola, Jones was employed as a sales rep for Pernix Therapeutics where he covered northeast Alabama.  
 
Jones was born in Eufaula, Ala. and currently resides in Thibodaux with his wife Alicia Jones (formerly Hatcher). They have one daughter, Harper Alyse.

 

ZACH BUTLER  |  ASSISTANT COACH / PITCHING COACH

Zach Butler heads into his third year as the Colonels pitching coach and fifth year with the Colonels coaching staff.

Five pitchers have been taken in the MLB Draft in Butler’s four years with the Colonels – LHP Taylor Byrd (Seattle Mariners), LHP Grant Borne (Washington Nationals), LHP Stuart Holmes (Toronto Blue Jays), RHP Ryan Deemes (Houston Astros) and RHP Cole Stapler (Arizona Diamondbacks). Under Butler’s tutelage, Justin Sinibaldi and Byrd earned SLC Pitcher of the Year Honors. Sinibaldi and Holmes additionally earned ABCA/Rawlings All-Region honors.
 
In 2017 the Colonels led the league in Pitcher of the Week Honors with four, two each by in Mike Hanchar and Cole Stapler.
 
In 2015, Butler helped coach the Colonels pitching staff to the lowest team ERA in the Southland Conference for a second consecutive season.
 
Serving as an assistant coach in 2014, Butler helped coach Nicholls to a 32-26 overall record and a 20-10 mark in league action. Those 20 wins in conference play marked the most in Colonels history.

Butler was hired as a volunteer assistant coach and camp coordinator for the Nicholls baseball team in the summer of 2013 after a stint as a coach for the Acadiana Cane Cutters of the Texas Collegiate League.

Along with handling day-to-day duties, Butler assists in recruiting, daily routines for pitchers, organization of practices and game plans.

Butler, a graduate of McNeese State University, was drafted in the 34th round of the 2011 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft by the Tampa Bay Rays organization and played for the Gulf Coast Rays, Princeton Rays and Charlotte Stone Crabs. During that time as a pitcher he accumulated an overall earned run average of 1.95.

A two-year starter for the Cowboys, Butler helped lead McNeese to the Southland Conference tournament, being named team captain his senior season. Prior to joining the Cowboys, he won two conference championships at Temple Junior College, making an appearance in both tournaments.

Butler resides in Thibodaux.

 

FORD PEMBERTON  |  VOLUNTEER ASSISTANT COACH

Ford Pemberton joined the Nicholls baseball coaching staff in July 2016 as Director of Baseball Operations and Camp Coordinator.

He was promoted to Volunteer Assistant in July 2017, now serving as the Colonels first-base coach. Pemberton handles catchers and assists head coach Seth Thibodeaux with an infield that led the SLC in fielding percentage in 2016. He also helps assistant coach Walt Jones with hitters.

Pemberton's primary duties also include coordinating travel, game contracts and Nicholls fall league camps and showcases. He is a member of the American Baseball Coaches Association and served as guest speaker at the Bayou/River Coaches Clinic in 2017.

Pemberton was the pitching and infield coach at C.E. Byrd High School in Shreveport from 2014 to 2016. He also served as an associate scout for the Arizona Diamondbacks during his time at Byrd.

Prior to his time with the Yellow Jackets, Pemberton spent time as an assistant coach at Zachary High School and Parkview Baptist High School. Pemberton led each school he coached at to the LHSAA state title game.

A native of Bossier City, Pemberton attended Haughton High School and graduated from LSU in 2013 with a degree in Kinesiology.

Pemberton resides in Thibodaux with his wife Sarah Pemberton (formerly Waguespack).


JASON McDONALD  |  DIRECTOR OF PLAYER DEVELPOMENT

Jason McDonald was hired as Nicholls baseball's Director of Player Development in July 2017. He will assist with strength training, video coordination, practice planning, and pitchers' throwing and off-season conditioning programs.

McDonald was a member of the 2014 and 2015 Colonel baseball squads, capping off his senior season with a 2.86 ERA in 21 appearances out of the bullpen. He graduated magna cum laude from Nicholls in May 2015 and spent the last two years coaching baseball at George County High School (2016-17) and Center Hill High School (2015-16).