The Charlotte 49ers signed head baseball coach Loren Hibbs through the 2018 season, the school announced this week. Hibbs, the longest tenured coach at the school, enters his 22nd season at the helm of the program in the 2014 season.
“We are pleased that Coach Hibbs will be our baseball coach for the long-term,” said Senior Associate Athletic Director Darin Spease.
“Our goal in extending his contract was not only to provide our program with his continued strong leadership, but also to reward his loyalty to the Charlotte baseball program, as others around the country seek to have a leader of his caliber.”
Hibbs’ alma mater, Wichita State, asked permission to speak with Coach Hibbs about their coaching vacancy this summer, but Hibbs expressed his desire to continue to coach the 49ers.
“I consider it a privilege to work at UNC Charlotte and have done my best to represent this institution and our athletic department in a positive manner over the years,” said Hibbs. “I appreciate the continued confidence in my ability to lead this program from (Chancellor) Dr. (Philip) Dubois, the Board of Trustees, (Athletic Director) Judy Rose and Darin Spease.”
Hibbs has taken Charlotte to all five of its NCAA tournament appearances, and has been the skipper for all three postseason victories. He has averaged more than 31 wins per season and guided the 49ers to all seven regular-season and four conference tournament championships. Charlotte won a conference title in five of the last seven years, and has appeared in eight conference tournament championship games.
Eight of the nine baseball all-America performers were coached by Hibbs and 98 of the 113 players named all-Conference played under him.
In 2002, he became baseball’s leader in all-time coaching wins. The program won its 1,000th contest early in 2013. Hibbs has been at the helm for 669 of the team’s 1,033 all-time program wins. The 49ers have won 30 or more games in eight of the last nine seasons, 35 or more in six of the last eight and 40 or more games in four of the last seven, including a school record 49 wins in 2007, which included the school’s first post-season victories en route to a Regional final.
Charlotte went an astounding 95 straight games without losing back-to-back contests across a stretch from 2007-2008 and was ranked as high as 18th in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association in June of 2007. Charlotte defeated a team ranked seven or higher in four-straight seasons from 2007-2010.
Hibbs was the 2007 Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year, giving him three such titles in three different conferences since taking over the program in 1993. He won the award in the Metro Conference in 1994 and in Conference USA in 1998. He currently is a voter in the USA Today Top 25 Coaches Poll.
“My family is comfortable here and I enjoy coming to work every day,” added Hibbs. “We have quality assistant coaches and student-athletes who have succeeded in our system. I am excited about our move back to Conference USA and the opportunity to lead this program in the future.”
Under Hibbs' watch, the team has also put up impressive numbers in the classroom and made an impact in the community. The team’s Academic Progress Rate has been consistently in the Top 15 percent in the country. His players also participate in the Miracle League, Habitat for Humanity, the Rayce Playce Community Park Project, and the Red Cross Fall Blood Drive, as well as projects with the Metrolina Food Bank, the Epilepsy Foundation's Fall Stroll, area shelters and visits to local children's hospitals.
Hibbs played professionally for the San Francisco Giants after his collegiate career at Wichita State, where he earned All-NCAA Tournament after playing in the 1982 College World Series. It was that season in which he set the NCAA record by scoring 125 runs, a mark that is still tops in college baseball today. He came back to coach with the Shockers and won a National Championship as an assistant coach in 1989, three years before arriving in Charlotte.
Hibbs has three children, two are UNC Charlotte graduates. He wife, Lisa, is the Director of the University’s Athletic Academic Center.
|Longest Tenured Coaches in Charlotte 49ers History
||23 years, 1969-72
||22 years, 1979-2000
||21 years, 1992-present
||20 years, 1981-2000