About the Council
AstroTurf, the inventor of synthetic turf and a leading innovator in the industry, has partnered with some of the top leaders in the sport of baseball and soccer to launch the AstroTurf Baseball Coaches Advisory Council and the Soccer Coaches Advisory Council.
As AstroTurf continues its commitment to developing the best possible products for each sport, we felt it was essential to get input from those whose expectations for safety, durability, and performance are of the highest priority.
The councils will meet to discuss product expectations, challenges, and technological advancements that are coming more and more rapidly in baseball and soccer surfacing.
Baseball Advisory Council
Applegate was hired as the CSU Pueblo Head Baseball Coach in June of 2021. A graduate of CSU Pueblo and a member of the 1994 team that resurrected the baseball program, Applegate brings nearly 25 years of coaching experience at the NCAA Division I level to the ThunderWolves. Applegate had spent the last seven seasons as an assistant coach at the United States Naval Academy where he also served as the pitching coach and co-recruiting coordinator. He also had stints as an assistant at NCAA Division I University of California, Riverside, Brigham Young University and the United States Air Force Academy. In all, Applegate has developed more than 30 players who have signed to Major League Baseball organizations.
Bell enters his fourth season as head coach of Pitt baseball. Bell was hired in July of 2018, becoming the fifth head coach in Pitt baseball history and bringing 14 years of Division I coaching experience to the Panther program. He joined Pitt after a seven-year stint as the associate head coach and pitching coach at ACC powerhouse Florida State. In 2021, the Panthers finished 23-20 with a 16-17 conference record. In 2020, Bell guided the Panthers to a 10-6 record before the season was cut short due to COVID-19. Revamping the roster with 21 newcomers, Bell lead the Panthers to a 10-1 start to the year, tied for the second-best start through 11 games in program history. Pitt’s offense played a huge part, ranking in the nation second in doubles per game (2.88), 37th in slugging percentage (.447) and 38th in scoring (7.3 runs per game). Since 2005, Bell has helped lead three teams to four College World Series appearances – Tennessee (2005), Oklahoma (2010) and Florida State (2012 & 2017). He has coached nine first round draft picks, 35 Top-10 round picks, 92 overall Draft picks, 19 Major Leaguers, and helped guide 12 Top-25 recruiting classes. In 2012, he was named the Perfect Game Assistant Coach of the Year and was named the No. 13 recruiter in the country by D1Baseball.com prior to the 2017 season. In five of his seven seasons, Florida State pitchers have recorded 500 or more strikeouts, including a pair of top 10 seasons in 2017 (640, fifth most) and 2018 (635, seventh most). The Seminoles posted a 314-136-0 record in his tenure, reaching a Super Regional on three occasions, advancing to the College World Series twice. Florida State captured three ACC titles in Bell’s time in Tallahassee, Fla., taking home conference tournament titles in 2015, 2017 and 2018.
In a coaching career that dates back to the mid-1980s, Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin has put up some impressive numbers. Corbin’s record of 802-377-1 (.680) is first all-time in wins at Vanderbilt and first in winning percentage for coaches with 100-plus games … Boasts a career record of 908-515-1 (.638)…. Has led Vanderbilt to 15 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, matching Arkansas’s Dave Van Horn (2003-15) for the longest in SEC history … Helped Vanderbilt to five College World Series appearances including four trips to the finals … Since taking over in 2003, 52 players have been named All-America including 17 who have received first-team All-America recognition … Tutored 29 freshman All-Americans and 26 future MLB players. The 2022 season is the 20th as head coach at Vanderbilt for Tim Corbin. During his tenure Corbin has turned the Commodores into a national power, leading Vanderbilt to two national championships in the last eight seasons (2014, 2019). Corbin’s record is first all-time in wins at Vanderbilt and first in winning percentage for coaches with 100 games or more. Corbin’s efforts have paid off in the win column and across the board as D1Baseball.com tabbed Vandy the top program in the nation in 2015 and second in 2017 and 2019.
Brian Green completed his second season leading the Cougars after being named the 17th baseball coach in Washington State history June 3, 2019. In just his second season leading the Cougars, Green guided WSU to its first winning season since 2015 and the most Pac-12 Conference wins since 2014 after posting conference series wins at Utah, at California, against No. 8 Oregon and Washington. WSU went 26-23 overall and 13-17 in conference Green spent the previous five seasons as the head coach at his alma mater New Mexico State where he led the Aggies to a 2019 Western Athletic Conference regular-season championship and an NCAA Regional appearance in 2018. Green led NMSU to an historic four-year stretch that saw the Aggies record 34 wins or more in each of the last four seasons and also signed four-straight nationally recognized recruiting classes along the way. Green has appeared in seven NCAA Regionals as a head coach or assistant coach at the Division I level. A native of Temecula, Calif., Green was a four-year assistant coach at UCLA (2005-08) before going to Kentucky as one of the top hitting instructors in college baseball. Green helped lead the Bruins to three consecutive NCAA Regional appearances and to the Super Regionals in 2007. Other stops for Green include Hawaii, Oregon State, San Diego, Chapman University, Cal Poly-Pomona, Riverside Community College and New Mexico State. Green, 48, graduated from New Mexico State with a degree in business management in 1995 and earned his master’s degree in education from National University in 1997.
Justin Haire is in his eighth season as head coach of the Campbell University Fighting Camels and his 15th as a member of the Campbell baseball coaching staff. Haire enters the 2022 season with a 202-156 (.564) record through his first six seasons at the helm of Campbell baseball. He is one of four head coaches in program history to reach triple-digit wins, joining Goff (2008-14, 224 wins), Chip Smith (1996-2006, 267 wins) and Cal Koonce (1980-86, 174 wins). In 2021, the Camels claimed their third consecutive Big South regular season crown before falling in the Big South Championship game. After a 33-14 regular season, Campbell earned its first at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament and the fifth tournament appearance in program history. Since Justin Haire took over in 2015, Campbell has won 202 games and averages over 28 per year (32.5 excluding the short 2020 season) and he has twice been named Big South Coach of the Year (2018, 2021). Campbell has reached three NCAA Regionals and won four NCAA tournament games. Has won the Big South regular season three times (2018, 2019, 2021) and the Big South Tournament twice (2018, 2019). Nine Camels have been selected in the MLB Draft, and twelve have signed professional contracts with MLB organizations.
Donny Harrel enters his 13th year at Seattle University in 2021-22 as the architect of the reborn baseball program. During that time, Harrel has seen several former players move to the next level. Since the program’s return in 2010, 20 Redhawks have signed professional contacts including 11 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft picks. Three different Redhawks appeared in MLB during the 2021 season: Tarik Skubal, Eric Yardley, and Janson Junk. The 2016 season was one for the record books as Harrel led the Redhawks to the program’s first regular season conference title, winning the WAC in the regular season finale at Sacramento State. For the third straight season, the team improved upon their wins tally and Harrel was named WAC Coach of the Year. Previous to coaching at Seattle U, Harrel was an assistant baseball coach at the University of Washington for four years. Before coming to Seattle, Harrel was an assistant coach at Oregon State during the 2003-04 season. His head coaching experience comes from seven seasons at Lane Community College in Eugene, Ore., where he compiled a 220-90 record and led the team to the NWAACC championship in 1999. Named NWAACC Southern Division Coach of the Year four times, he also led fundraising efforts to build a field, improve other facilities, buy equipment, and increase scholarship opportunities.
Dan Heefner enters his 18th season with the DBU Baseball team and 15th year as the Patriots’ head coach. A two-time Missouri Valley Conference Dan Callahan Coach of the Year (2016 & 2021) and a two-time recipient of the American Baseball Coaches Association Midwest Region Coach of the Year (2008 & 2011), Heefner has guided the DBU Baseball program to the NCAA postseason 10 times, including nine of the last 10 years. Under Heefner’s leadership, the Patriots are currently the only team in the nation to post seven consecutive 40-win seasons and are one of just six teams in college baseball to reach the NCAA Regionals each of the past seven years. In 14 seasons at the helm, Heefner owns a career record of 526-271 and his .660 win percentage ranks 10th-best among all active NCAA Division I coaches. Dating back to the 2015 season when the Patriots hosted the Dallas Regional, Heefner has guided DBU to 270 victories, a mark that ranks as the fifth-highest win total among the nation’s 302 NCAA Division I baseball programs. Since 2015, DBU is 5th in wins with 270. Trailing only Florida (293), Louisville (287), Vanderbilt (286) and LSU (279).
Coach Brett Kay has lifted the JSerra Baseball program to the top of the Trinity League, arguably the best prep circuit in the country. Entering his 15th season, the Lions will be seeking another Trinity League title. Coach Kay’s program has been ranked among the nation’s top 10 in three of the last six seasons and is annually listed among Orange County’s top teams. No moment may have been more significant for JSerra than Day 1 of the 2017 MLB Amateur Draft when three-time Trinity League MVP Royce Lewis was selected as the #1 overall pick by the Minnesota Twins. It also marked the first time in Orange County history that a high school player from the region went first overall. Under Coach Kay’s leadership, the Lions have captured the school’s first four Trinity League baseball titles (2009 & 2014-16) while qualifying for CIF 11 times in his 13 seasons at the helm. The three consecutive league crowns were unprecedented in the Trinity League. All told, the 2009 Orange County Coach of the Year has steered the program to a .639 winning percentage (247-138-1). Under his watch, the Lions have posted six 20-win campaigns, including a school-record 27 victories in each of the 2015 and 2016 seasons. With JSerra’s ascension to the national stage, the program hosts the annual Boras Classic, which features some of the top high school baseball teams in the country. Additionally, Coach Kay was named as a head coach at the Perfect Game All-American Game in 2014 and served as an assistant coach for the West each of the last five seasons.
Rainey is entering his 29th season as the head baseball coach at Adrian College in 2022 with a career record of 732-436. Under Rainey’s leadership, Adrian’s baseball program has risen to national prominence and has become a perennial contender for the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association championship. Adrian entered the 2020 season nationally-ranked by both major polls in NCAA Division III and featured D3baseball.com Preseason All-American Gunner Rainey. But the Bulldogs couldn’t complete their full schedule due to the coronavirus pandemic that canceled all NCAA Championships in the spring. The 2019 campaign saw Adrian extend its MIAA record of 11 conference championships in a row with a 24-4 record in MIAA play and the Bulldogs won the MIAA Tournament for the seventh time since it was introduced in 2012. The Bulldogs finished 37-9 overall and No. 25 in the final American Baseball Coaches Association/Collegiate Baseball Newspaper national rankings. Adrian played host to the NCAA Division III Mideast Regional for the second year in a row and third time since 2009, and were the regional runner-up for the first time in five years The team established or tied school records for regular season wins (AC also had 32 in 2012), overall victories (2012 squad also had 37), fewest losses in a 40-game season and best winning percentage (.804). In addition, Adrian had its fewest losses since going 12-8 in 1975. Career record of 695-427. He is the winningest coach in MIAA history.
Will be entering his third season with Lenoir-Rhyne, after posting records of 15-11 in 2020 and 23-18 in 2021. Ramirez served as the head coach at Illinois-Springfield for 6 seasons, where he posted a record of 199-122-1. His career record is 237-151-1. At Illinois-Springfield, he led the team to the NCAA regional in 2018 (47-9) and NCAA super regional in 2019 (41-17-1). He also had his team ranked as high as No. 4 in the nation in 2018. His time also included a 29-game winning streak. He has coached 34 all-conference players, including 15 first team selections. He has had 10 players named All-Region and four garner All-American status. In 2018, his team boasted the best offense in the country, leading Division II with 1.86 home runs per game, a .581 slugging percentage and 9.4 runs per game. On top of his National Coach of the Year, Ramirez was awarded Conference and Regional Coach of the Year honors. Coached Cole Taylor who went on to sign with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, becoming the first UIS player to sign with an MLB-affiliated organization.
In eight seasons at the helm of the Southeastern Louisiana baseball program, Matt Riser has pushed the Lions to new heights, compiling a record of 265-166. Southeastern has become one of the Southland Conference’s premier teams, earning three NCAA Tournament berths and a pair of Southland Conference titles since 2014. Named the 19th head coach in the history of the Southeastern baseball program at the age of 29, Riser began his career as one of the youngest head coaches at the NCAA Division I level and was recently recognized by Baseball America as one of the nation’s top coaches under the age of 40. The Lions’ success under Riser has garnered national recognition for Southeastern, leading to the program’s first at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament (2016), first preseason national ranking (2017) and a Top 25 ranking during the 2018 season. Southeastern’s three NCAA appearances since 2014 place Riser third all-time in Southland history. With 233 wins over the course of his first seven seasons, and back-to-back 40-win seasons (2015-16), Riser’s overall winning percentage (.618) ranks ninth in Southland history. Record-breaking performances have been achieved through an air of remarkable consistency, including record-setting attendance from 2015-18. An average of 1,071 fans passed through the gate of Pat Kenelly Diamond at Alumni Field in 2015, the first time in program history the per game average topped 1,000. It increased to 1,126 in 2016, followed by 1,210 in 2017. Attendance increased by more than 100 fans per game in 2018, ranking 55th nationally with an average crowd of 1,317. All four figures led the Southland Conference. In 12 total seasons at Southeastern, Riser has coached 16 All-Americans, including seven Freshman All-Americans and a trio of Academic All-Americans, the National Stopper of the Year, the nation’s leading hitter and 10 Academic All-District players. Four have been named the Southland Conference Player of the Year, two each have been named Southland Relief Pitcher of the Year and Freshman of the Year, and one was named both Southland Pitcher of the Year and Louisiana Pitcher of the Year. Twenty-four players have been drafted, including 17 in the past six seasons.
Soccer Advisory Council
Jay Vidovich, one of America’s most respected and accomplished soccer coaches, was named the third Pitt men’s soccer head coach at the University of Pittsburgh in December of 2015. Vidovich and the Panthers concluded one of the most memorable seasons in Pitt men’s soccer history in 2020-21, finishing with a school record 16 wins, nine conference victories and a NCAA College Cup appearance, the first the program has seen. The Panthers finished 16-4 (9-1) and clinched the school’s first ever Coastal Division crown with a 5-0 shutout victory at home over Virginia April 8, 2021.
Randy Waldrum enters his third season at the helm of the Pittsburgh women’s soccer program in 2020. He was announced as the fourth head coach in Pitt women’s soccer program history by Director of Athletics Heather Lyke on December 19, 2017. The legendary women’s soccer coach ranks 14th in NCAA history in career head coaching victories (408) while also ranking sixth amongst active head coaches.
Dave studied mathematics and biology at the University of Oregon and has since worked in software and hardware engineering at the Los Alamos National Labs, UO Neuroscience Labs, and PMC Sierra. He founded Lane United in 2013 seeking to put a team in the vacant Civic Stadium. Dave’s hard work with the Eugene Civic Alliance towards that goal paid off with the opening of Civic Park in 2020. His passion for soccer extends back to his childhood in Europe watching Liverpool FC, St. Etienne, and the Dutch national team. His favorite footballers of all time are Kenny Dalglish and Johan Cruyff.
Jared Embick, who had previously served as the Zips’ associate head coach and recruiting coordinator, officially became the seventh head coach in the history of The University of Akron men’s soccer program in December of 2012. During Embick’s time at Akron, the Zips have posted the highest winning percentage in the nation with an overall record of 210-53-31 (.767), including a 60-6-5 (.880) mark in MAC play, while securing 11 conference tournament titles, 12 trips to the NCAA Tournament and three appearances in the College Cup final.
Yallop has spent more than 40 years in professional soccer as a player and coach at all levels of the game. A native of Watford, England, Yallop played for 16 years in his home country with Ipswich Town in the Premier League and EFL Championship, and later in Major League Soccer for the Tampa Bay Mutiny. He was the Head Coach for the San Jose Earthquakes from 2001-2003 where he led the team to two MLS Cup titles. He then spent two years coaching the Canadian National Team before returning to the U.S. in 2006 to coach the LA Galaxy. He continued his tenure in the MLS when in 2008 he returned to San Jose and later at the Chicago Fire from 2013 to 2015. Most recently, Yallop has been integral to the growth of the USL Championship, serving in coaching and leadership positions with the Phoenix Rising FC, Fresno FC and Las Vegas Lights FC.
A former professional player who made almost 100 appearances in Major League Soccer during his career, Keller has since moved into the sport’s front office, where he has made a significant impact on the growth of the USL off the field. Keller joined the USL in 2017 and has played a key role in securing national partnerships that have driven increased revenues for the organization and its clubs, including the USL’s Preferred Supplier program that has helped make world-class goods and service organizations part of gameday for clubs across the USL ecosystem.