SAN ANTONIO (Sept. 8, 2021) - The Our Lady of the Lake University (OLLU) baseball team and Head Coach Bryan Aughney are excited to announce a brand-new coaching staff. Joining the team for their first year are Pitching Coach and Recruiting Coordinator Matt Piker, Assistant Coach Chris Casias, Assistant Coach Ryan Chapa and Assistant Coach Ryan Reyes.
The additions come after the departures of Assistant Coach Zach Luevaos, who chose to pursue baseball in the private sector as the Director of Twelve, a nationally recognized select organization in San Antonio. Assistant Coach TJ Kassner accepted a graduate assistant position at DeSales University in Center Valley, Pa., where he will take the lead on infield play and hitting. Assistant Coach Benjamin Garcia will be a full-time teacher at Bishop Independent School District and a varsity assistant for baseball and football.
Aughney commented, "As it always has been, coaches move on, and they must make decisions that are best for their careers and best for their families. I am grateful to each for their time and dedication to Saints' baseball and our players. As my job is to move our players on after their playing days, I feel it is equally important to mentor young coaches and get them set up for their next step in their journey."
Pitching Coach and Recruiting Coordinator Matt Piker
Piker joins the coaching staff from Mayville State University (MSU), where he was the pitching coach for the last four seasons. During his time with the Comets, Piker was a member of two successful seasons that resulted in the 2018 North Star Athletic Association (NSAA) regular-season championships and the 2021 NSAA Conference Tournament Championships.
Piker said, "My wife, Haley, and I are thrilled to be joining the campus community at OLLU. Having spent the last four seasons in a program with a long-standing tradition of excellence, getting to be a part of what Coach Aughney has been building is extremely exciting. I've considered San Antonio a second home for many years, and it will be awesome getting to coach here. I can't wait to get to work and begin serving our student-athletes. Go, Saints!"
Piker coached six NSAA First Team All-Conference award winners during his time at MSU. Mason Swegarden earned honors as the 2018 NSAA Conference Pitcher of the Year and was named an All-American, and Kenny Stewart also was named an All-American during the 2021 campaign. In 2021, the MSU pitching staff finished the season ranked in the Top 15 in the country in ERA and averaged just more than eight strikeouts per game.
Before MSU, Piker was a graduate assistant at Arkansas Tech University (ATU) from 2015-2017. While earning his Master of Science in College Student Personnel, he oversaw the outfielders, coached first base and coached the pitching staff. Several of his players won postseason awards under his tutelage there, as well.
Piker arrived at ATU from the University of the Ozarks, where he also played and began his coaching career after receiving his Bachelor of Science in Physical and Health Education.
Piker has been a member of the American Baseball Coaches Association for the last seven years. He has been actively involved with collegiate summer ball throughout his career. He was the assistant coach of the Briarcliffe Seagulls in the Beach Collegiate Baseball League in 2015 and the head coach of the Chesterfield Vipers in the Mid-Atlantic Collegiate League from 2016-2017.
"I am excited to get Coach Piker down here and let him get to work with our guys," Aughney commented. "He stood out in our search from the very beginning. He is dedicated to developing players, a student of the game and is continually learning and adapting – things I value in today's game. In his prior stops as a coach, he has been a part of championship programs, and that is what we are after."
Assistant Coach Chris Casias
Casias spent the two previous seasons at Southeastern Oklahoma University (SOA) as a graduate assistant. Before SOU, Casias was at Oklahoma Panhandle State University (OPSU) for two years.
A native of San Antonio, Casias graduated from Earl Warren High School in 2015 as a two-sport athlete. As a sophomore and junior, Casias was a First Team All-District outfielder. He was also a Second Team All-District quarterback his junior year.
Following high school, Casias went on to play for two years at OPSU before transferring over to SOA. Casias will graduate this summer with a master's degree in Sports Administration from SOA.
Assistant Coach Ryan Chapa
Chapa joins the staff after playing for the Saints the past four seasons; he was an integral part of OLLU's 2021 RRAC Championship Team. He holds the OLLU record for most hits in a game with five against Texas College in 2020.
In December 2020, Chapa graduated from OLLU with a Bachelor of Arts in History with a certification in education grades 7-12. This past summer, he began his coaching career with the South Texas Sliders, assisting their 17U Team.
Chapa is a native of Corpus Christi, Texas.
Assistant Coach Ryan Reyes
Before joining the Saints' staff, Reyes spent two years part of the Central Christian College Tigers baseball program. During the 2017-2018 season, he served as a recruiting assistant for Texas. In the 2018-2019 season, Reyes joined the coaching staff as a student-assistant coach. His duties included working with outfielders, corner infielders and hitters.
From 2016-2018, Reyes began his coaching career by revamping the Del Rio Express-Select Organization, managing and assisting in age groups from 10u to 18u.
Reyes was born in Del Rio, Texas. He graduated from Del Rio High School, where he was a part of the baseball team for three years.
"I am excited to get these young men continued in their coaching journey," Aughney said. "They are pivotal in our success as a program. Each of them brings a different background to the game and ideas that will help our players."
Saints baseball made history last year when the men won the Red River Athletic Conference regular season with a best-ever 34-19 overall record and 20-4 in the conference. The team marked best-ever records in batting average, at-bats, runs, hits, triples, home runs, RBIs, total bases, slugging percentage, on-base percentage, sacrifice flies, fielding percentage, wins and shutouts.
The team will play a handful of fall scrimmages and enter its eighth season in spring 2022 at Missions Baseball Academy located at 5705 State Highway 151 in San Antonio.