JMU hires former VMI coach Marlin Ikenberry to be new baseball coach

jmu-logo-newJMU Director of Athletics Jeff Bourne announced on Tuesday the appointment of Marlin Ikenberry as head coach of the James Madison baseball program, naming Ikenberry the sixth skipper in program history.

“I am extremely excited to welcome Coach Ikenberry to JMU and our baseball program,” Bourne said. “Marlin brings a tremendous philosophy and set of experiences that mesh well with our vision for being the NCAA model for the student-athlete experience.”

Ikenberry previously served as head coach at Virginia Military Institute from 2004-14, racking up 282 wins, the most in program history, and leading the Keydets to numerous school records.

He departed VMI in 2014 as the Institute’s longest-serving head coach and was instrumental in turning around a program that had won more than 20 games just twice in the nine seasons prior to his tenure. In 11 seasons with Ikenberry at the helm, the Keydets dipped below the 20-win mark just twice and posted the first three 30-win seasons in program history.

“My wife Shannon and I, along with our two boys, could not be more excited to join the JMU family,” Ikenberry said. “With that said, I consider it a great honor and privilege to have the opportunity to take over a JMU baseball program that has such a long history of success. I would like to thankJeff Bourne, Kevin White and all those involved in the process for their due diligence. I look forward to partnering with Jeff and the rest of the athletics department to lead JMU baseball into the future.”

Prior to being named head coach, Ikenberry served as the top assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at VMI under head coach Tom Slater beginning in 2001. After Slater’s departure for a coaching job at the University of Florida, Ikenberry was tabbed to head up the program and the decision paid immediate dividends.

Ikenberry returned to his alma mater for the 2001 season after spending three years at William and Mary as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator. In 2000, his final season in Williamsburg, the Tribe racked up a school-record 32 wins. The following year, William and Mary won the only Colonial Athletic Association title in program history.


“I want to thank Associate Athletics Director Kevin White and the entire search committee for their work on this process, especially Coach Christy Morgan and Coach Mickey Dean,” Bourne said. “Their insight as successful head coaches at JMU was invaluable to us in selecting Coach Ikenberry as the ideal fit for JMU Baseball.”

After guiding the Keydets to 23 wins in 2004 and 27 in 2005, Ikenberry led VMI to 30 victories in 2006 and 34 in 2007, a single-season mark that still stands as the best in program history.

Over the course of his 11 seasons, VMI averaged more than 25 wins per season. Prior to Ikenberry taking the reins, the 25-win 2003 campaign–Ikenberry’s third and final year as recruiting coordinator before stepping in as head coach–marked the only time the Keydets had reached that mark in a single season. From 2004-2014, 15 VMI players were selected in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.

This past year, Ikenberry served as the Vice President for Business Development at ARMS Software, which develops recruiting, management and scouting software for collegiate athletic departments across the country.

Ikenberry began his collegiate baseball career as a four-year starting catcher for the Keydets. While playing, he developed a reputation for his excellent defensive skills and his handling of the pitching staff. He also caught for former VMI and Major League pitcher Ryan Glynn. He played on VMI’s 1993 squad that advanced to the Southern Conference Championship game and ranked third nationally in defense.

A native of Richmond, Va., Ikenberry has two brothers who also attended VMI. Twin brother Merlin Ikenberry was a teammate as a pitcher and designated hitter while his oldest brother Steve Ikenberry is an alum of the class of 1980. Marlin married the former Shannon Marshall in August 2000 and the couple has two sons.

“I also would like to thank all my former players, coaches, mentors and friends for allowing my family and me to be a part of their lives,” Ikenberry added. “I know that, without their belief in my hard work, passion and energy, I would not have been afforded this unbelievable opportunity. I’ll also extend a special thanks to ARMS Software for their professionalism, intellect and leadership, which has made me not only a better coach, but a better leader. I look forward to getting to work right away. Go Dukes!”

Ikenberry replaces former head coach Spanky McFarland, who retired following the 2015 season with 521 wins across his 18 seasons leading the Dukes, the second-highest total in program history.

JMU returns all but two players from this past year’s team heading into 2016, including eight of its nine starters.


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