A Carmichael native has been named head baseball coach at Western Kentucky University.
The Hilltoppers promoted assistant Matt Myers to be its baseball coach, athletic director Ross Bjork announced Monday in Bowling Green, Ky.
Myers, an alumnus of and El Camino High School, has 18 years of Division I experience as a college head coach, assistant coach and student-athlete, WKU officials said. He worked the previous four years as an assistant on the WKU staff.
"We love the town here; it's a really special place," Myers said in a phone interview Tuesday with Carmichael Patch. "It's a thrill to be hired; I'm really excited."
Myers said he enjoyed his time growing up in Carmichael, living near and attending Churchill Middle School.
At El Camino, Myers was a teammate of Baltimore Orioles first baseman Derek Lee.
"I think the school made a great decision in choosing Matt," Lee said in a released statement. "I know he is a great coach and I think he is going to take WKU to the next level."
Myers credits his family, who still lives in Carmichael, for guiding him.
"Who I am today is because of my parents Bruce and Carol (a teacher in Rancho Cordova)," he said. "My mom is my rock."
Myers' sister Lisa is also a teacher in the Sacramento area.
Myers said he played in the Whitney Little League and also played football and basketball at El Camino.
"That area has grown so much and there are so many schools (for kids) to go to," he said. "Carmichael is still in my heart."
Myers said Sacramento is a proven area for baseball players.
"I always have thought Sacramento is a major hotbed for baseball talent," he said, mentioning Lee, Woodland's Dustin Pedroia of the Boston Red Sox, Vacaville's C.C. Sabathia of the New York Yankees, alum J.P. Howell of the Tampa Bay Rays and former major leaguer Geoff Jenkins of Rancho Cordova.
Myers said he would love to recruit in the Sacramento area but that his and other schools in the southeast are a tough sell for many who stay in the region.
"If I could get a kid out of (the Sacramento area), I would in a heartbeat," he said.
Before joining WKU, Myers was previously an assistant coach at Auburn (2005-07), head coach at UNC-Asheville (2001-04) and pitcher at Tennessee for (1996-97). He also pitched a season at Sacramento State (1994) and Sacramento City College (1995).
Myers was introduced at a press conference at Tuesday in the Topper Club at Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium.
"As our search unfolded, it became clear that Matt Myers was the ideal person to serve as our next head baseball coach," Bjork said in a released statement. "I know that Matt will give his full effort and I have complete confidence that he is the perfect person for our job and that his leadership will enable us to consistently produce the results and high level of success our university, program and community deserves."
Myers said his goal every year is for Western Kentucky to win their Sun Belt Conference championship.
"We've gone to two regionals in the past four years," he said. "That's where I want the program to be every year."
Myers lives in Bowling Green with his wife Michelle. The couple has a son, Carson.