Cullowhee, N.C. - Catamount baseball head coach Bobby Moranda this week announced the addition of Nate Cocolin to complete his full-time assistant coaching staff. Cocolin brings a wealth of coaching experience to the position at Western Carolina including eight years as the head coach at Gannon University, a NCAA Division II program located in Erie, Pa.
Cocolin replaces former Catamount assistant coach Bruce Johnson who was on staff for eight seasons.
“We are very fortunate to hire one of the ‘rising stars’ in college baseball,” said Moranda. “His track record in recruiting the total package of student, person and player is exceptional. Nate’s experience as a head coach over the past eight years will prove invaluable to our Catamount baseball program.”
Cocolin transformed the Gannon baseball program into a perennial contender during his eight-year tenure. He took over a program that posted a 5-43 in 2006 and guided the Golden Knights to the program’s first Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSCA) divisional crown in 2013. The team increased its seasonal win total during each of his first three seasons overall and in five of his eight years at the helm including scoring 21-or-more victories three times.
A combined 16 players earned all-conference plaudits during his tenure at Gannon with over 100 baseball student-athletes being named PSAC Scholar-Athletes.
Cocolin mentored the PSCA Western Division Pitcher of the Year, Shayne Herold, and Freshman of the Year, Aaron Cox, during the 2013 campaign. The duo represented the first Golden Knights in the program's history to be named either a conference pitcher or freshman of the year. Other accolades included five all-conference selections to match a school record, six all-region honors, one All-American and one Gold Glove winner.
All told, 13 Golden Knights were named PSAC Scholar-Athletes and three received the Division II Athletics Directors Association (DII ADA) Academic Achievement Award in 2013. Those numbers were duplicated in 2014 with 13 scholar-athletes and three earning the achievement award.
Cox collected Dakronics All-Atlantic Region honors in 2014, and following the 2015 season, he was drafted by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the 19th round. A three-time All-PSAC Western Division selection, Cox was just the fourth Golden Knight drafted all-time, and the first since 1982 for Gannon.
Cocolin was named PSAC Western Division Coach of the Year in 2012 after the Golden Knights qualified for the league tournament – its first appearance since 1970 – before finishing 25-23 overall and 14-10 in the PSAC West. He became the first baseball coach in school history to be named a conference coach of the year.
The 2012 Gannon squad surpassed the previous year's victory total by 10 games. In addition to producing the first-ever winning conference record in school history, Gannon set new school single-season records for overall victories (25) and conference wins (14). The Golden Knights had the most triples (14), lowest ERA (3.85), lowest opponent batting average (.271), most saves (7), most complete games (19), fewest runs allowed (201) and fewest earned runs allowed (145) in program history since at least the 1999 campaign. Combined, five Golden Knights were named to the 2012 All-PSAC Western Division teams, setting a school record at the time.
Coming off a 10-win season in 2009, Cocolin guided Gannon to a 21-victory season in 2010 – the best for the Golden Knights since 2004.
Cocolin made an immediate impact during his first season with the Gannon baseball team in 2008, tutoring two All-Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) selections. In addition, five starters hit .300 or better for a team with a .277 average. In the classroom, seven Golden Knights were named to the GLIAC All-Academic team.
Prior to accepting the head coaching position at Gannon, Cocolin spent two seasons (2006-07) as an assistant coach at his alma mater, Embry-Riddle University in Daytona Beach, Fla. He helped lead the NAIA-member institution to a 92-26 combined record over two years, claiming both a Region XIV Championship and a South Atlantic Super Regional title, along with making the program’s fifth-consecutive NAIA World Series appearance in 2006.
During Cocolin’s tenure as an assistant, Embry-Riddle ranked second in the final 2006 national rankings and 11th in the final 2007 poll. In 2006, the Eagles posted a 49-15 record en route to the Florida Sun Conference Championship. Three players earned All-America honors.
In 2007, Embry-Riddle went 43-11 and was the Florida Sun Conference and Region XIV runner-up. Seven players earned all-conference accolades.
A native of Erie, Pa., Cocolin is a 2003 graduate of Embry-Riddle, earning a degree in aviation management. He was a team captain and a two-time All-American as a player, helping the Eagles make back-to-back World Series appearances in 2002 and 2003. As a junior, he led the Florida Sun Conference in RBIs (62) and was among the league’s top 10 in home runs (7), total bases (110) and runs scored (56). One of his most memorable performances came against Eckerd (Feb. 10, 2002) when he hit for the cycle with a grand slam and seven RBI.
In 2003, Cocolin took on an expanded role as a two-way player, adding relief pitcher to his list of duties. In addition to hitting .300 with 12 doubles, six homers and 46 RBI, Cocolin posted a 4-3 record with a 3.03 ERA, 27 strikeouts and a save in 19 appearances.
During his time in Daytona Beach, Cocolin also worked with area youth as the head coach of the Ormond Beach Golden Spikes AAU team and as an instructor at the TeamGuill baseball camps.