GGC baseball earns program’s 200th win

GGC head baseball coach Brad Stromdahl is shown during a 2017 game. (Photo: Rod Reilley)

The coach who built Georgia Gwinnett College baseball program from its inception into a national power has been hired away by an NCAA Division I program.

Brad Stromdahl was named the 10th head baseball coach in Georgia State history Wednesday.

Stromdahl returns to the program where he was an assistant before being named GGC's first head coach in 2011. When the Grizzlies played their inaugural season in 2013, he directed a 30-win campaign, including two wins over ranked opponents.

In seven seasons under Stromdahl, GGC reached the Avista NAIA World Series three times, won four Association of Independent Institutions titles and compiled a .759 winning percentage.

“My time at Georgia Gwinnett was phenomenal,” Stromdahl said. “Winning there and having the success at Georgia Gwinnett set me up for this opportunity. I wouldn't be in this position without them.”

Stromdahl led the Grizzlies to a No. 1 national ranking during the 2016 season and the program had four seasons with 50 or more victories. He was named the Association of Independent Institutions' Coach of the Year five times. Nine Grizzlies have been drafted by Major League Baseball organizations in the last six years.

“Brad Stromdahl has been the backbone of GGC baseball since his arrival on campus in 2011,” He has built our program from the ground up and has guided it to unbelievable success in seven short years,” athletics director Darin Wilson said. “We will miss Brad and his family and wish him nothing but the best at Georgia State.

"I am looking forward to the next chapter of GGC baseball. This is one of the best jobs in the country and I look forward to finding the next leader of our nationally ranked baseball program.”

Stromdahl and the Grizzlies are coming off back-to-back trips to the NAIA World Series in Lewiston, Idaho, reaching the semifinals in 2018 and 2019. GGC finished 2019 ranked No. 4 in the NAIA with a 48-13 record. Three players garnered NAIA All-America accolades and two were selected in the MLB draft (Cam Coursey in the 13th round to the Arizona Diamondbacks and Matthew Swain in the 23rd round to the Minnesota Twins).

“I was at Georgia State for 7 ½ years and it's kind of a natural fit to circle back, with the experience I have at Georgia Gwinnett, winning at a high level, and to bring that back downtown,” Stromdahl said. “It's a great fit because I'm networked in Gwinnett and the metro Atlanta area. It's a great fit for me and my family.

“I'm very fortunate to have the opportunity to usher in the next phase of Georgia State baseball.”

During his five-year tenure as an assistant at Georgia State (2007-11), Stromdahl helped the Panthers average more than 35 victories over his final four seasons, highlighted by the 2009 Colonial Athletic Association title and NCAA Atlanta Regional berth — both firsts for the program — and a record 39 wins.

He served as the hitting instructor for the most prolific offensive teams as the Panthers hit .300 or better in each of his five seasons, led by the 2010 squad that shattered nearly every offensive school record with a .356 batting average, a Division I-leading 10.5 runs per game and 82 home runs.

“We are excited to have Brad lead our baseball program,” GSU athletic director Charlie Cobb said. “He believes in Georgia State. He is an experienced head coach who valued his previous time here. He is a program builder. He is a respected coach and recruiter.

“Players enjoy playing for him, and his beliefs mirror the culture established within our department. Georgia State baseball was successful during his previous tenure, and we have the same expectation going forward.”

Before coming to Georgia State, Stromdahl spent three seasons at Central Michigan (2004-06), where his primary responsibilities were hitting instruction, working with infielders and assisting with recruiting. CMU made three straight appearances in the Mid-American Conference Tournament, including the MAC regular-season title in 2004 and a 42-18 record in 2005.

He spent one season at Marshall (2003) and four seasons at Division II Southwest Minnesota State (1999-02), his alma mater, while also coaching summer baseball in the Coastal Plains League (2004) and the Northwoods League (2006).

Stromdahl played collegiately for two seasons at Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato, Minn., and two seasons at Southwest Minnesota State before pursuing professional baseball. He received his bachelor’s degree in business administration from SMSU in 2002 and then earned a master’s in sports administration from Central Michigan.

Stromdahl, 42, grew up in Napa, Calif., before finishing high school in Minocqua, Wis. He is married to the former Tessa Rieger, and the couple has two sons, Leo William, born in 2011, and Hugo Walter, born in 2014.

BRAD STROMDAHL YEAR BY YEAR

2013 Georgia Gwinnett 30-25 Inaugural Season

2014 Georgia Gwinnett 53-13 NAIA World Series

2015 Georgia Gwinnett 50-14 NAIA Opening Round

2016 Georgia Gwinnett 57-6 NAIA Opening Round

2017 Georgia Gwinnett 40-21 NAIA Opening Round

2018 Georgia Gwinnett 50-12 NAIA World Series

2019 Georgia Gwinnett 48-13 NAIA World Series