Matt Thomas, Sports Information Director
DURANT – For just the second time in more than 50 years the Southeastern Oklahoma State baseball program will make a coaching change as Zach Crabtree takes over the reins of the tradition-rich program following the retirement of Mike Metheny.
Crabtree makes the move to Southeastern after seven seasons guiding Murray State College.
Metheny stepped away from the program after 37 years at the helm which followed that of Dr. Don Parham’s career which spanned from 1965 through 1980.
“It’s truly an honor and a privilege,” Crabtree said. “To have been named the fourth baseball coach in Southeastern Oklahoma State University history. I would like to thank Coach [Keith] Baxter and President [Sean] Burrage for this opportunity. I look forward to the challenge of leading this tradition rich program back to the top of Division II baseball. I am fully aware of the expectations of this program, and I fully embrace them! My family and I are extremely happy to be a part of the Southeastern family and can’t wait to get to work.”
“Without question, Zach Crabtree is the right person to lead the Southeastern baseball program,” Southeastern president Sean Burrage said. “He understands, appreciates and embraces the history and traditions established by Dr. Don Parham and Mike Metheny. Keith Baxter(athletic director) and the search committee went through a very thorough process before unanimously recommending coach Crabtree. He has a proven track record in recruiting and has been very successful on the playing field, winning a national championship. Under his leadership, our baseball program has a very bright future.”
“We are excited about Zach Crabtree and his family becoming a part of Southeastern Athletics,” Director of Athletics Keith Baxter said. “When coach Metheny retired we needed to find the right person to author the next chapter of Southeastern Baseball, I think we have hit a homerun.”
“Zach is a winner,” he continued. “He has a National Championship, multiple Conference Championships and produced a number of All Americans. He has done a great job at Murray State, winning on the field, improving facilities and developing young men. He and Valerie along with their children Ava, Gracie and Brewer are vested in the community and we welcome them to Southeastern. We look forward seeing what the next chapter of Southeastern Baseball brings under Zach’s leadership.”
“I would like to congratulate Coach Crabtree on his selection as the new Southeastern Head Baseball Coach,” Metheny said. “Zach has done an outstanding job at Murray which includes a National Championship. We have recruited several Murray players and they have had a very positive impact on the Southeastern program.”
“Most of all, we are happy to have the Crabtree family become a part of the Southeastern Baseball Family. Our families are good friends and we look forward with excitement to watching the “winning tradition” continue under the leadership of Zach and his family.”
Over seven seasons at MSC, Crabtree amassed a 281-134 record for a .677 winning percentage.
He guided his 2013 squad to a National Championship and led his teams to a pair of conference championships in 2012 and 2014 as well as another NJCAA World Series Appearance in 2017.
He posted four seasons with forty or more wins and has added a handful of personal honors to his wall.
He was named the NJCAA Div. II Coach of the Year, A.B.C.A. Div. II JUCO Coach of the Year, the Diamond Sports NJCAA Div. II Coach of the Year, and NJCAA Div. II World Series Coach of the Tournament following his national title in 2013, and was the NJCAA Div. II Region 2 Coach of the Year as well as NJCAA Div. II Plains District Coach of the Year in both 2013 and again in 2017.
Twice in three years Crabtree also received the Oklahoma Baseball Coaches Association College Coach of the Year award, winning it in 2011 and 2013.
Over his time with the Aggies Crabtree has coached five All-Americans and 42 All-Conference players, while 76 of his athletes moved on to four year colleges and universities.
Prior to taking over the reins of the Murray State College baseball program, Crabtree spent nine successful years at the high school level and seven years of coaching Larry Dyson Motors American Legion baseball team in Durant.
Crabtree spent time as the head coach at Ft. Towson, Caney and Durant High Schools, where his teams compiled an overall record of 376-154 for a winning percentage of .709. He guided five of his teams to the Oklahoma State Tournament, including three semi-final appearances. Under Crabtree’s guidance Larry Dyson Motors American Legion team compiled a record 251-80 for a winning percentage of .758 over seven years.
In that time, three of Crabtree’s teams reach the American Legion State Tournament. Crabtree capped off his American Legion coaching career in the summer of 2007, when he guided Larry Dyson Motors AA American Legion team to its first ever state championship. The state tournament championship qualified them for the National Tournament in Jennings, Louisiana; where Crabtree’s squad went on to capture the 2007 American Legion AA National Championship.
He is certainly no stranger to Texoma as he is a 1992 graduate of Colbert High School, who went on to receive both his Bachelor’s degree in Recreation and his Master’s degree in Education Administration from Southeastern Oklahoma State University.
Crabtree resides in Durant with his wife, Valerie and their twin daughters Ava and Gracie, and son Brewer.