|Title:||Head Baseball Coach|
Tom Cantrell is in his 15th season as
head coach of the University of North Georgia baseball
program. Over the last four years, Cantrell has led the
Saints to three out of four Peach Belt Conference tournament
appearances, including a string of three consecutive 34-win seasons
from 2009 to 2011.
The North Georgia baseball program continues to send players to the next level, as a trio players have been selected in the Major League Baseball Draft over the last five years. In 2010, Daniel Petitti and Chris Rearick became the program's first duo to be drafted in the same year, when they were selected in the 37th and 41st rounds respectively by the Oakland Athletics and Tampa Bay Rays. Troy Snitker followed and made his own headlines in 2011, when he became the highest draft pick in North Georgia history, going in the 19th round to the Atlanta Braves.
In their first year eligible for postseason play since entering the NCAA, Cantrell led his team to a tie for third place in the Peach Belt Conference regular season and ran through the PBC Tournament with four straight wins to claim the championship. The Saints finished the regular season winning 19 of 22 games and competed in their first NCAA South Atlantic Regional.
Cantrell reached a career coaching
milestone during the 2010 season, picking up his 600th victory as a
head coach with a 17-2 victory over Carson-Newman College on March
16, 2010. Cantrell picked up his 500th win at North Georgia in an
11-9 victory over King College on February 9, 2013 at Bob Stein
Stadium in Dahlonega.
His 2007 team finished their second season of competition at the NCAA Division II level and in the Peach Belt Conference, by finishing 34-22 (17-13 PBC). Cantrell reached a pair of milestones in the 2007 season, winning his 300th game at North Georgia and his 500th game overall. He was also awarded the Peach Belt Conference Coach of the Year Award, and also coached the 2007 Peach Belt Conference Freshman of the Year in Craig Brisson.
In their inaugural year, 2006, in the NCAA Division II and the Peach Belt Conference, the Saints finished with an overall record of 32-29 and a PBC record of 9-18. Under the direction of Cantrell, the Saints second baseman Brian Lauderdale was named PBC Player of the Year, South-Atlantic Player of the Year, third team NCAA Division II All-American, and signed a free-agent contract with the San Diego Padres.
In his 14 years at North Georgia,
Cantrell has amassed a 517-313 (.623) record and has posted a
winning record at UNG in 12 of those 14 seasons. Over his 17-year
career at Georgia Perimeter College (DeKalb College) and North
Georgia, he has a 694-365 (.655) overall record. Cantrell also has
a sharp eye for spotting major league talent, 23 of his former
players have signed professional contracts. Five of those 20 are
currently in the majors: Nick Green with the Miami Marlins, Marlon
Byrd formerly with the Boston Red Sox, and Robby Hammock formerly
with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Cantrell also coached Adam Everett
formerly of the Cleveland Indians, and Michael Barrett during
summer ball at East Cobb, formerly of the Toronto Blue Jays.
Cantrell came to North Georgia from Georgia Perimeter College (DeKalb College) where he spent nine years, four as head coach with a record of 177-52 (.773). While at GPC, Cantrell's teams produced two NJCAA All- Americans, five NJCAA Academic All-Americans, 21 GJCAA All-Region, and two GJCAA Players of the Year.
In 1998, Cantrell guided DeKalb to its first state championship since 1987. They also won the East Central District Championship, and made an appearance at the JUCO World Series, DeKalb's first appearance since 1977. Coach Cantrell's squads were consistently ranked nationally in the top twenty. For his efforts in 1998, Cantrell, was named GJCAA Coach-of-the-Year, as well as the East Central District Coach of the Year.
In 1991, Cantrell returned to DeKalb
as an assistant coach responsible for recruiting. In his five
seasons as an assistant coach DeKalb compiled an impressive 204-94
record. In 1995 Cantrell was named GJCAA Assistant Coach-of-the
Born on November 10, 1965, in Habersham, Georgia, Cantrell was a two-time Georgia All-State shortstop at North Clayton High School. Following his senior season, Cantrell began his collegiate career at DeKalb College. At DeKalb, he hit .332 and was an All-Region shortstop his freshman year with the Patriots. Following an outstanding sophomore campaign, in which he hit .362, he was once again named to the All-Region. At the conclusion of his second year at DeKalb, the Atlanta Braves drafted him in the seventh round.
In the summer of 1985, Cantrell reported to the Braves rookie camp in Bradenton, Florida. After batting .214 in Bradenton, Cantrell was sent to Pulaski, Virginia for his second season. At Pulaski, Cantrell had a spectacular season, hitting .301 and making the Appalachian League All-Star team. That year, he helped lead the team to the Appalachian League World Series. While with Pulaski, he was coached by former Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers manager Grady Little. Cantrell credits Little and college coach Doug Casey as the main catalyst that led him into the coaching profession. Cantrell retired from professional baseball in 1987 and began coaching American Legion baseball in College Park, Georgia. A highly successful amateur coach, Cantrell finished third in the nation three times.
Tom and his wife Shannon live in Dacula, Georgia. Their 20-year-old daughter, McKenzie, will be a junior at the University of Georgia and a member of the cheerleading squad.