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Nittany Lions open 2014 at Gardner Webb on Friday, Feb. 14
Entering his third season on the Penn State baseball staff, Brian Anderson primarily coaches the Nittany Lion pitchers and catchers.
Anderson joined Penn State in August 2013 after playing a key role in engineering the revitalization of the Radford University baseball program over the previous six years, where he served the roles of pitching coach and recruiting coordinator. One of his biggest successes was the recruitment and development of Eddie Butler, who made his Major League debut in 2014 after getting drafted in the first round in 2012.
The Chesapeake, Virginia, native has worked with a very youthful pitching staff at Penn State, as nearly half of the team’s innings pitched in 2015 were thrown by first-year pitchers. A pair of freshmen were regulars in the weekend rotation, highlighted by lefty Taylor Lehman, who held No. 8 Illinois to just one run in a seven-inning outing. In the bullpen, freshman Sal Biasi was one of the most relied upon relievers, leading the group with a 2.62 ERA and 31 strikeouts, while also earning three saves and Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors.
Veteran returners also continued to develop under Anderson’s guidance, as five of the seven lowered their ERA from 2014 to 2015, despite the Lions playing a significantly more difficult schedule that included 10 games against ranked opponents and five opponents that advanced to the NCAA tournament. Junior submarine-style pitcher Jack Anderson went from having an ERA above five in 2014 to leading the team in 2015 with a 2.98 ERA and five saves, also appearing in a team-high 60 percent of the team’s contests.
At Radford, Anderson helped the Highlanders land major contributors to the success of the program. Under his tutelage, 12 recruits earned all-conference honors, 10 recruits ranked in Radford career top 10 statistical categories, and the 2012 senior class posted the most wins in a four-year stretch in program history with 115.
Butler arrived at Radford as a 35th-round MLB Draft selection in 2009 and left three seasons later as the first player in Big South conference history to be drafted in the first round (46th overall). Butler earned Big South Pitcher of the Year honors in 2012, a first for a Radford pitcher, and made his Major League debut with the Colorado Rockies in 2014.
Along with Butler, Eric Evans and Mark Peterson continued their post-Radford careers to professional baseball. Evans went from the most single-season losses in program history to a 23rd round selection of the Rangers in 2008, and Peterson was a free agent signee of the Royals in 2012.
In addition to pro success, Anderson's pitchers set Radford program records. Butler matched a school wins record in 2011 and set the program's ERA record in 2012. At the back end of games, Abram Williams became the school's all-time career and season saves leader.
Anderson spent the two years prior to arriving at Radford as a volunteer assistant at the University of Virginia. He worked directly with the Cavalier catchers and assisted with the day-to-day development of the hitters. During his time in Charlottesville, the Cavaliers finished 19th in the nation in batting average (.322) while setting school records in hits, RBIs and total bases.
Before moving to Virginia, Anderson served as an assistant coach at Marist College. He helped lead the Red Foxes to the 2005 MAAC title and a berth in the 2005 Baton Rouge Regional.
Anderson got his coaching start at his alma mater, spending one year as a volunteer assistant at George Mason, coaching catchers and assisting in hitting instruction. He also was the first base coach for the Patriots.
A standout catcher at Mason, Anderson was a four-year starter that ranks in the Patriots' all-time top 10 in eight statistical categories. Following graduation, Anderson inked a free-agent deal with the Expos organization, and played the 2002 season with the Vermont Expos of the New York-Penn League.
Anderson earned a degree in communications from George Mason in 2002. He is married to the former Colleen Boles.