In seven seasons, Matt Parker has taken the Oklahoma Wesleyan University baseball program to new heights, breaking program records and turning the Eagles into an NAIA regional power and national contender. Parker has never had a losing season, leading the Eagles to at least 30 wins every season, including three 40-win seasons and three 50-seasons.
Parker has compiled a 325-111 overall record (.745 winning percentage), including four conference championships, three conference postseason tournament championships and two NAIA World Series appearances. He has coached nine NAIA All-Americans, two NAIA National Players of the Year, two American Baseball Coaches Association National Players of the Year and 65 all-conference selections. He is a three-time conference Coach of the Year and two-time ABCA/Diamond Sports Company Region Coach of the Year.
In 2018, OKWU finished 53-8, falling in the regional final. Finishing the year ranked No. 7 NAIA Baseball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll. Collecting their fourth conference regular season title in five year with a 25-5 record. Junior Tyson Cronin was named KCAC Pitcher of the year and was joined by 10 other All-Conference selections. Junior Austin Sojka was named a 2nd team NAIA All-American.
In 2017, the Eagles finished 51-12 and advanced to the NAIA World Series for the second time in four years. They spent the entire regular season in the top five of the NAIA Baseball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, reaching as high as No. 2. The Eagles finished 22-6 in conference play, winning a conference title for the third time in six seasons. Junior Chris Tapia was named NAIA Player of the Year and Senior Will Price was named the ABCA National Player of the Year as the Eagles landed four on the NAIA All-American teams, including three first-team selections.
In 2016, OKWU finished 41-23. The Eagles began the season ranked No. 9 in the NAIA Preseason Coaches’ Poll and finished with their third 40-win season in five years under Parker. They went 21-15 in their first season in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference (KCAC), finishing fourth and advancing to the semifinals of the conference tournament.
The Eagles won back-to-back conference championships in 2015, finishing 49-14 overall and receiving an at-large bid as the top seed in the Davenport, Michigan, regional of the NAIA Opening Round. They advanced to the finals of the opening round, missing out on a second straight NAIA World Series appearance by one win. The Eagles finished the 2015 season ranked No. 14 in the NAIA Baseball Coaches Poll after having been ranked in each poll throughout the season. OKWU produced 11 all-conference players. As a team, the Eagles tied the NAIA record for double plays with 82 in 63 games, and they finished the in the top 10 of several national categories: No. 3 in total runs scored (538); No. 4 in total runs batted in (473); No. 4 in batting average (0.345); No. 5 in runs batted in per game (7.508); No. 5 in total hits (692); and No. 7 in total doubles (134).
It only took three seasons for Parker to put Oklahoma Wesleyan on the national map with a record-breaking 2014 campaign. The Eagles finished 58-8, not only setting a school record for wins but also leading all of collegiate baseball in wins. Along the way, the Eagles set a school record with 29 consecutive victories from March 28-May 25, captured their first ever Midlands Collegiate Athletic Conference (MCAC) Regular Season and Tournament Titles and broke into the NAIA Top 25 for the first time in school history at No. 16, climbing as high as No. 3 in the final poll. OKWU qualified for it’s first-ever NAIA Championship Opening Round and went 3-0 en route to their first-ever Avista-NAIA World Series berth where they finished third, losing to eventual NAIA National Champion Cumberland University.
Senior outfielder Jose Ruiz was named the NAIA National Player of the Year, American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) Player of the Year, and the NCCAA National Player of the Year. Ruiz was also named NAIA All-American first team and All-Tournament Team at the World Series. Diego Ibarra, who went 13-1 on the mound, was named NCCAA National Pitcher of the Year and made the All-Tournament Team at the World Series. Jeff Butler received NAIA All-American honorable mention and made the NAIA World Series All-Tournament Team. The junior second baseman also won the coveted Charles Berry Hustle Award. Ruiz, Ibarra, and Butler were joined on the NAIA World Series All-Tournament Team by Cody Riley and Garrett Easton. Parker was awarded the ABCA Midwest Region Coach of the Year honor as well.
Oklahoma Wesleyan also placed 12 on the All-MCAC teams and earned six MCAC Gold Gloves. OKWU nearly swept the major conference awards as they brought home the MCAC Player of the Year (Jose Ruiz), Newcomer of the Year (Jeff Butler), Freshman of the Year (Garrett Easton), and Coach of the Year.
Parker wasted no time making his mark on the program as during his first season, Parker led the Eagles to one of the most successful seasons in school history, earning MCAC Coach of the Year honors as a rookie. The Eagles finished 42-25 and finished as the national runner-up at the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) World Series. The Eagles ranked in the top 12 in the NAIA in nine offensive categories and had 10 players named MCAC All-Conference, and another four earn MCAC Gold Gloves. Cory Ford was named NAIA All-American.
In year two, the Eagles did not let up. Oklahoma Wesleyan University again topped the 30-win plateau finishing 31-23 and 3rd in the MCAC. Parker led OKWU to the MCAC Tournament semifinals and had seven players named All-MCAC, including Freshman of the Year honors for CJ Gregory.
Prior to coming to Oklahoma Wesleyan, Parker spent three seasons as an assistant at California Baptist University. During his time there, the Lancers baseball program reached new heights, including a record-breaking 49-15, No. 3 national ranking, and making just the second ever trip to the Avista-NAIA World Series in 2010. CBU won the Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC) twice in Parker’s three seasons. Additionally, Coach Parker coached the All-Conference shortstop each of his three seasons including the GSAC Player of the Year in both 2010 and 2011. The Lancers had six players selected in the MLB Amateur Draft during his tenure there.
Prior to CBU, Parker spent two seasons as an assistant coach at Garden City (Kan.) Community College, leading the Broncbusters to the Region VI championship game. While there, he also served as an associate scout for the San Francisco Giants. He also spent the 2005-06 season as an assistant coach at Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, Ark.
Parker spent two summers as an assistant coach with the Chillicothe (Mo.) Mudcats, leading them to the 2006 Missouri Iowa Nebraska Kansas (M.I.N.K) League championship and an appearance in the 2006 NBC World Series.
As a player, Parker played four seasons at NAIA Lyon College in Batesville, Ark., earning All-TranSouth Conference honors as a 2005 senior. He was a two-time TranSouth Scholar-Athlete as a 2004 junior and 2005 senior. He earned NAIA Scholar-Athlete honors as a senior. A 2005 graduate of Lyon, Parker graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s in business administration and had the highest GPA among business administration majors. He earned his Master’s in Sports Administration from Henderson State in 2007.
Parker and his wife, Lindsey, have twins – Charleigh and Cortland, the family resides in Wilburton, OK
2018 – 53-8
2017 – 51-12
2016 – 41-23
2015 – 49-14
2014 – 58-8
2013 – 31-23
2012 – 42-25