JERSEY CITY, N.J. – Saint Peter's University Director of Athletics Joe Quinlan has announced that T.J. Baxter has been promoted to baseball head coach after serving as an assistant coach/acting head coach last season.
"I'm ecstatic to be named head coach at a prestigious Jesuit University like Saint Peter's," said Baxter. "I cannot thank the University and the community of Jersey City enough for welcoming me with open arms. With the returning players and the outstanding prospects we have arriving for the 2015 season, we continue to be a program that has been constantly improving since I have stepped on campus."
Baxter joined the Peacocks staff as an assistant coach in the fall of 2013 and served as acting head coach during the 2014 campaign. Saint Peter's won 11 games last season, including a three-game sweep of the defending Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference regular season champion Rider and a 9-8 win against Seton Hall on Mar. 19. Saint Peter's placed four players on the All-MAAC second team in 2014. Baxter replaces Sean Cashman, who left the program on June 30.
"T.J. did a remarkable job with a challenging situation last year as the acting head coach and was able to help our team be competitive for the 2014 season," said Quinlan. "He comes from a great coaching background in his family and experienced success as a player in both collegiate and minor league baseball. With his background and experience, T.J. will give Saint Peter's a great chance to be successful in the MAAC's new six-team playoff format."
Baxter came to Jersey City after serving as a baseball assistant coach at Wake Forest University. He worked with both infielders and outfielders and also helped with bunting and base stealing with the Demon Deacons during his two seasons.
Prior to his time with Wake Forest, Baxter played three seasons in the Baltimore Orioles organization after being drafted in the 24th round in the 2008 First-Year Major League Baseball Amateur Player Draft. Baxter played two seasons for the Single-A short season Aberdeen Ironbirds before playing one year for the Single-A Delmarva Shorebirds. Baxter appeared in 220 games in his minor league career with a .261 batting average, 214 hits, 121 runs scored, 34 doubles, 11 triples, 11 homers, 79 RBIs and 54 stolen bases. In his one season with the Shorebirds, he led the team in stolen bases (34), home runs (8) and runs scored (64). Baxter then went to spring training with the Chicago Cubs organization in 2011.
Baxter was a four-year starter at the University of New Orleans and left the Privateers ranking in the Top-10 in seven offensive categories. During his junior season, Baxter reached base for a program-record 82 consecutive games to help New Orleans to the Sun Belt Championship and advance to the Wichita State Regional. He capped his four-year career by helping the Privateers to the LSU Regional. He graduated from New Orleans with a bachelor's degree in general education.
Baxter played high school baseball at Toms River High School where he registered 100 career hits and finished with the third-highest batting average in school history. He helped his squad to the 2004 South Jersey Group IV state title and was named the Ocean County Offensive Player of the Year while being a unanimous selection to the Associated Press All-State team.
Baseball has been in the Baxter family dating back to his father, Tom, who was drafted by the Oakland A's as the 13th overall pick in the 1976 Major League Baseball Draft. His father played three seasons for the A's and then served as the pitching coach at Rutgers University for 15 seasons.