FIU announced the hiring of Mervyl Melendez as its fourth head baseball coach on June 28, 2016. He returns to the state of Florida after building the Alabama State program in the past five seasons to a Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) power and respected mid-major program on a national level. This followed 12 years as the head coach at Bethune-Cookman, where he won 30-or-more games in nine of his seasons as the mentor. He has compiled 537 wins (100 games above .500 for his career) in 17 seasons as a head coach at the two programs. In total, teams under Melendez have also earned a dozen NCAA Tournament appearances
Melendez compiled 158 wins in five years with the Hornets, the highest win total in a five-year span in program history. Three times, the Hornets achieved a school-record win total under Melendez. Alabama State’s 38 victories this spring toppled the 37 wins tallied in 2014. That followed setting the mark his first time in 2013 with 32 victories. Never before had the Hornets won 30-or-more wins in four-straight seasons before the tutelage of Melendez.
The Hornets won three-straight SWAC Eastern Division titles, capturing the tournament championship in 2016, and a trip to the NCAA Tournament. The 2015 Alabama State team was named the Black College National Champions by blackcollegenines.com, an honor repeated this past season. The Hornets registered wins over No. 4 Miami and No. 17 Cal-State Fullerton, as well as victories over Tennessee and Auburn in his time in Montgomery.
Under Melendez, Alabama State has sent nine players to the pros, including six Major League Baseball Amateur Draft selections.
While in Daytona Beach, Melendez won 11 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Championships, capturing 30-or-more wins in his final six campaigns at Bethune-Cookman.
Melendez was named the 2016 and 2014 SWAC Coach of the Year, and has earned Coach of the Year honors 11 times in his career. He served as an assistant coach for the 17-and-under team for USA Baseball in 2015 and the 14-and-under squad this year.
He was named one of Baseball America’s Top-10 head coaches under the age of 40 before the 2013 season, and coached more than a dozen All-Americans or Players of the Year. He has had over 30 former players play professionally in his career. In 2009, at the age of 35 (and two months), he became the second-youngest head coach in NCAA Division I baseball history to reach 300 career wins.
As a player at Bethune-Cookman, Melendez was selected to the first-ever Black College All-America Team during his senior season (1996). As a third baseman and relief pitcher, he finished his collegiate career as the all-time school leader in doubles (30) and batting average (.342). These accolades earned him all-conference and all-tournament honors in both 1995 and 1996.
It was Melendez’ relief-pitching efforts against North Carolina A&T in the final game of the 1996 regular season that allowed the Wildcats to capture their second consecutive MEAC Southern Division crown. In the NCAA Regional Play-in game against Georgia Southern in 1996, Melendez hit a bases-loaded double to give B-C its first win in a regional.
He served as assistant coach from 1997-99, helping the Wildcats with MEAC titles in 1997 and 1999.
The Melendez File