HEAD COACH SETH THIBODEAUX
Seth Thibodeaux is entering his 10th season at the helm of the Nicholls baseball program. He reached the 200-win milestone on May 14, 2017 as the Colonels topped UNO 8-7 on Mother’s Day, and currently owns a 256-248 overall record as head coach of the Red & Gray.
The Colonels put together a competitive campaign during the 2019 season, concluding the year one win off a Southland Conference Tournament berth. On the mound, the Red & Gray proved decisively tough against league opponents, ranking second in overall ERA (3.53), first in home runs allowed (25) and third in opposing batting average (.253).
Out of conference, Nicholls managed to pick up a road victory over in-state rival Tulane -- a first since 2016 -- and push LSU to extra innings, eventually falling to the Tigers by a 5-4 margin.
Nicholls garnered several achievements in 2018, highlighted by a 7-4 win over NCAA runner-up Mississippi State at Didier Field on March 27. The Colonels also topped NCAA Regional participant Purdue and swept UCA for the first time in program history to land the seventh seed at the SLC Tournament. The Red & Gray managed to pick up two victories in Sugar Land, reaching the program's first tournament semifinal since 2011.
Nicholls upped its fielding percentage to .975 in 2017, the highest mark since 1982. The Colonels finished the year with the highest fielding percentage in the Southland Conference as Cole Stapler, Gage Teer and Alex Tucker were named to the SLC’s first-ever All-Defensive Team. Stapler was drafted in the 22nd round of the MLB Draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks, becoming the sixth pitcher drafted during the Thibodeaux Era. Nicholls also bested top-tier programs such as 13th-ranked UL-Lafayette and NCAA Super Regional participant Wake Forest.
The 2016 season saw the Colonels sweep in-state rival Tulane for the first time since 2013. Nicholls also ranked in the top five of the league in double plays per game, fielding percentage, sacrifice bunts, stolen bases and walks allowed per nine innings.
For two years straight, the 2014 and 2015 Colonels pitching staff ranked in the Top 10 of Division I in ERA and topped the league in ERA for 30 consecutive weeks.
In 2015, Coach Thibodeaux helped Nicholls reach several milestones and garner national recognition. The Colonels went on a nine-game tear, the program's longest winning-streak since 2005. Nicholls swept its season series against Louisiana-Lafayette for the first time since 1996 and downed the LSU tigers at Alex Box Stadium. The Colonels also turned in back-to-back 30-win seasons for the first time since 1992-93. Nicholls' 34 wins in the 2015 season serves as the most since 1992, when the Colonels totaled 36 victories. Nicholls had three players selected in the 2015 MLB Draft, including LHP Grant Borne (Washington Nationals), LHP Stuart Holmes (Toronto Blue Jays), RHP Ryan Deemes (Houston Astros), while catcher Christian Correa was later signed by the Astros.
The Colonels have had 18 student-athletes play professional baseball in the last eight years including three Top-10 round selections. Under Thibodeaux’s tutelage, Nicholls has earned two conference pitchers of the year (Taylor Byrd and Justin Sinibaldi), a relief pitcher of the year (Holmes) and newcomer of the year (Kyle Reese), not to mention two All-Americans (Holmes and Sinibaldi). Holmes was the runner-up Stopper of the Year in 2015 as he set a school record with 15 saves. Correa and Tucker were also named to the Johnny Bench Award watch list.
The baseball facilities have seen a major facelift under Thibodeaux’s tenure. Ray E. Didier Field is considered one of the most fan-friendly ballparks in the Southland Conference, and the Colonel skipper has been on top of much-needed projects since taking over the program. A new grandstand with a press box elevator was added recently, field turf was installed in the summer of 2017 and more projects continue to improve the stadium's footprint within the athletic community. Nicholls added a brand new press box and concession stand over the summer and fall semester of 2015. Didier Field’s dugouts were renovated in 2013, 1,200 new seats were added down the outfield lines in 2012 and a new infield surface and fencing were added in 2011.
After leading the Red & Gray to a second-place regular-season finish in 2014, Thibodeaux was tabbed Coach of the Year, becoming the first Colonel head coach to receive the award. In conference play, Nicholls finished with a 21-9 record, obliterating the previous team-best of 15 wins. The team claimed eight series wins, including sweeps over Lamar, New Orleans and McNeese State, and led the country in double plays turned during the regular season. After a remarkable 12-win turnaround in conference play from a season ago, Nicholls is the first team in conference history to win more than 20 league games one season after posting single-digit conference wins. On the year, Thibodeaux led the Colonels to a 32-24 overall record, marking the first 30-win season since 1993 and the first winning campaign in 12 years.
In 2013, Thibodeaux became just the third head coach in team history to win at least 25 games in each of his first three seasons at Nicholls, finishing one win shy of tying B.D. Parker for most wins in the first three seasons at the helm with 80 total victories. During the season the Colonels went on one of the longest winning streaks in the last 10 years, earning rivalry victories over Tulane, Louisiana-Lafayette and Southern while defeating CAA Champion and NCAA Regional participant Towson.
In the 2012 campaign, Thibodeaux tied Mike Knight for the most wins by any head coach in his first two seasons at Nicholls with 54, and is the first coach since B.D. Parker to win more than 25 games in his first two years leading the team. The 2012 team finished with 26 wins on the year.
In Thibodeaux’s first year with the program (2011), the Colonels experienced their best season in 13 years. The Red & Gray fell to Texas State University in the Southland Conference semifinals but finished third in the tournament. The Colonels went 8-1 in nine games against Northwestern State, Southeastern Louisiana and McNeese State.
Academics are a top priority of coach Thibodeaux and Colonel baseball, and the program has also seen a huge rise efficiency since he took over as head coach. The Colonels have averaged a 3.0 GPA in seven consecutive years. Thibodeaux has seen 78 student-athletes receive degrees in his eight seasons including 11 in 2017.
Thibodeaux helped the Colonels rebuild their program off the field by overseeing the team’s NCAA academic and compliance efforts. In 2006, the Colonels’ APR score was just 835. By 2010, the Colonels surpassed the NCAA’s APR threshold of 925 for the first time in school history. The new NCAA APR requirement is 930 and the team currently holds an APR of 957. Nicholls baseball APR score has never dipped below 950 with Thibodeaux at the helm even though that mark was only reached once in the six years before he was hired.
The Colonels are also very active in the community and routinely give back to the city of Thibodaux and the surrounding areas. Nicholls student-athletes visited the Dominican Republic in December 2015 to play against native teams and lend service. The Colonels painted houses for locals in Boca Chica, handed out clothes and fresh water, and offered several clinics to Dominican Kids.
Before coming to Nicholls in 2008, Thibodeaux served two years as an assistant coach at fellow Southland Conference school Southeastern Louisiana, helping put together two recruiting classes that received national recognition from Baseball America. In his final season in Hammond, Thibodeaux helped Southeastern to 34 wins, the most for the Lions in a decade and a school record 16 wins in Southland competition.
Thibodeaux began his college coaching career at Pearl River Community College in 2003. In his second season at PRCC, Thibodeaux lifted the Wildcats to conference and state championship titles as well as a No. 2 national ranking in 2004. In 2005, Thibodeaux helped PRCC repeat as conference champs.
Thibodeaux played two seasons at LSU-Eunice in 2000 before transferring to William Carey College in Hattiesburg, Miss., where he finished his collegiate career and earned his degree in physical education. After graduation, Thibodeaux played one season of professional baseball for the Baton Rouge Riverbats of the independent South East Professional Baseball League.
Thibodeaux is married to Janelle Thibodeaux (formerly Austrom) who was a soccer and softball player at William Carey College. Coach Thibodeaux and Janelle have two daughters, Ella Reese and Blake Adelle. One of eight children, Coach Thibodeaux has a brother Mike who is the head baseball coach at Teurlings Catholic High School in Lafayette, La.