Manny Cervantes heads into his third season as the skipper of the Eagles squad after joining the Asbury staff in late summer of 2014.
Cervantes continued to improve the Asbury program in 2016 by doubling their win total from the season before and finishing 2016 with a record of 22-29. They started the season with two wins over a ranked opponent, beating 25th-ranked Rio Grande (Ohio) in two straight games early in the season. A 13-4 stretch mid-season helps the Eagles to a much better season in 2016.
In terms of wins and losses the Eagles had a tough season in Cervantes' first year, posting an 11-36 record, but it was a season in which coach Cervantes and his staff saw change in the culture for Asbury baseball for the long haul. The Eagles finished the season strong, knocking off Brescia University and taking perennial conference leader IU-Southeast to the brink in an elimination game during the KIAC Playoffs, showing promise for the future as Cervantes continues to rebuild the program for success. With a full recruiting season at his disposal headed into the spring of 2016, Cervantes hopes to bring in a plethora of talent and numbers to take the next step in the rebuilding process.
"We accomplished our goals in 2015," Cervantes said. "We wanted to take strides to turn the program around and we saw progress by the end of the year. We have a talented class ready for 2016 to continue that process. I am hopeful we will continue to move forward."
The Eagles placed two players on the KIAC Second Team All-Conference team under Cervantes in 2015 (Zach Settle and Spencer Andrews) and two more in 2016 (Andrew Moran and Joey Johnson).
Cervantes played at both Oklahoma State and Kentucky and spent two years in the Seattle Mariners’ minor-league system before turning to coaching.
Cervantes is originally from Whittier, Calif., and was drafted by the New York Mets in the 48th round in 1987 straight out of high school, but instead opted to play in college. He played first base at Oklahoma State from 1988 to 1990, during which time the Cowboys made the NCAA tournament three times and reached the national title game in 1990. In April 1988 he was named as the Big Eight Conference player of the week and in 1989 and in 1990 he was an Academic All-Big Eight Conference selection.
He transferred to Kentucky for his senior season and earned second-team All-Southeastern Conference honors in 1991 for the Wildcats. The Mariners signed him as a free agent later that year and he played two seasons in the Class A California League.
He coached in the Mariners’ minor-league system from 1992 to 1994 and in recent years established a private baseball coaching business in Stillwater, Okla. Cervantes, who also works as an insurance agent, worked as a volunteer coach at Stillwater High School in 2011 and 2012.
Prior to coming to Asbury, Cervantes served as an assistant at Oklahoma Christian University from 2012 until 2014 managing most of the recruiting responsibilities and being instrumental in the Eagles' 38-17-1 record in 2014.
Coach Cervantes resides in Wilmore with his wife and children.
Year by Year at Asbury University
Brandon Mattingly is entering his first season as the pitching coach for Asbury baseball. He is a graduate of Saint Xavier High School, Class of 2003. Brandon spent the majority of his baseball career as a pitcher and was a member of the 1998 St. Matthews Ameican Little League All-Star team that won Kentucky state champion and was 1 game away from the Little League World Series. He continued to play baseball for a variety of travel and prep teams.
Brandon attended Purdue University upon graduation from high school. However, in 2004 a severe shoulder injury ended his baseball career permanently. After the injury, Brandon transferred to Ivy Tech Community College, and then the University of Louisville.
Brandon began coaching pitchers on a daily basis in the summer of 2012. He first established his reputation as the program pitching coordinator for the Lyndon Baseball Club for the 2012 summer prep season. He later accepted a position with the Louisville Vipers Baseball Club in the summer of 2015, and has since become the Pitching Coordinator for the entire Louisville Vipers program. Brandon also has worked individually with pitchers who were sent to him, ranging from Division 1 (Ball State University, University of Louisville, Western Kentucky University) to Division 2 (Bellarmine University) to a variety of JUCO and D3/NAIA programs. (Louisburg JUCO, Centre College, etc.).
Brandon currently lives in Louisville, Kentucky, and choses to live by the motto that his pitching program repeats daily, “Hard Work and Dedication.”
Jack Murphy is entering his first season as assistant coach for Asbury University baseball. He has a specific focus on coaching the catchers. Jack is originally from Oak Forest, Illinois and attended Oak Forest High School, graduating in 2009. He was a member of the Oak Forest high school baseball team where he was recognized as an All-Conference catcher in both 2008 and 2009. Upon graduation from Oak Forest, Jack initially attended Robert Morris University to play baseball in the NAIA and again was recognized as an All-Conference catcher in 2011.
His successful 2011 season at Robert Morris enabled Jack to transfer to Division 1 Wright State University. Once again, he was recognized as an All-Conference performer in 2014, this time at 3B. After graduation from Wright State, Jack immediately transitioned into coaching. In 2014, Jack was the head coach of the Sanford Snappers, a team playing in the Futures League. He was also the assistant coach of the Sanford River Rats, a team playing in the Florida Collegiate Summer League in Central Florida. After coaching the Sanford teams, Jack accepted a position as the assistant coach of Trinity Baptist College in the NAIA, followed by a stint as the assistant coach of his alma mater Oak Forest High School in 2016.
Taylor Valentine enters his second year as an assistant coach at Asbury in 2016. He works primarily with the Eagles hitters and infielders and assists with the recruiting for the Asbury baseball program.
Valentine was a middle-infield impact player at Asbury 2013-2014 after transferring from Milligan College 2011-2012.
In 2015, Valentine focused on scouting and developing the Eagles infield play which contributed to a .942 team fielding percentage and 14 future Eagles, one of the largest recruiting classes at AU. Valentine coached All-Conference selection Andrew Moran and All-Conference Come Back Player of the Year Joey Johnson. Asbury recorded wins over top-25 foe Rio Grande and swept a four-game series for the first time since 2008 against Cincinnati Christian University.
A Cincinnati, Ohio native and 2010 graduate of Bishop Fenwick High School Valentine was a two-sport athlete, playing baseball and football. Baseball Head Coach Bob Sherlock selected Valentine as a Team Captain and he received all GCL Conference Honors and the Robert J. Bowman Baseball Leadership Award.
Valentine spent last summer coaching a College Prep Summer High School Travel Team, with a team batting average of .316, 116 stolen bases and .938 fielding percentage. Valentine was selected Head Coach for Game Day USA All-Star Tournament with 4 players selected. He has also led the operational efforts for one of Baseball Factory’s largest identification events at Pirate City, FL along with National Tryouts in Columbus, OH
Baseball Factory – Coordinator (2015-Present)
Score International – Christian Leader/Coach (July 2013-Aug 2013)
Indiana University Baseball – Camp Counselor and Coach (July 2010)
ProCamps Worldwide – Camp Operations Assistant (May 2009- July 2009)
Jeremy Shope enters his first year with the Eagle’s baseball program. He was the Head Coach of the Mercer County Senior High baseball team for 17 years during which he amassed a career record of 349-190. His most notable accomplishment was leading the Titans to a State Championship game appearance in 2011 and 2013, where the Titans lost 3-2 in extra innings. He was named Kentucky High School Baseball Coach of the Year by the National Federation of State High Schools Association in 2013. Coach Shope played baseball at Cumberland University in Lebanon, TN, under legendary Hall of Fame Coach Woody Hunt.
Coach Shope earned a Bachelor's Degree in Physical Education from Cumberland University, TN in 1996 and received his Master's Degree in Special Education at Georgetown College, KY in 2009. He is married to the former Kelly O’Donnell of Mt. Juliet, TN, and the couple has two daughters – Kelsey (17) and Lindsey (14).