Local News

N.C. State Hires Former FSU All-America As Pitching Coach

Posted July 23, 2003 10:38 a.m. EDT

— North Carolina State University baseball coach Elliott Avent has hired Chris Roberts as the Wolfpack's new pitching coach.

Roberts, a two-time All-America at Florida State, comes to N.C. State after two years as pitching coach at Western Carolina, where he had a profound impact on the Catamounts pitching staff.

In just two years under Roberts, Western Carolina's pitchers saw their staff ERA fall from 6.06 in 2001 to 4.59 in 2002 and 3.77 in 2003. That last number was good enough to rank second in the Southern Conference and 28th nationally.

"Chris Roberts comes to N.C. State very highly recommended," Avent said. "I took my time in making this hire because I wanted to get the guy who was just the right fit for our program. Everyone I spoke with about Chris, from (FSU coach) Mike Martin to (WCU coach) Todd Raleigh, had nothing but great things to say about him."

A native of Middleburg, Fla., Roberts played outfield and pitched for the Seminoles from 1990-92. He was a third-team All-America and Metro Conference player of the year as a sophomore in 1991 after hitting .321 with 14 home runs and 77 RBI as an outfielder and going 7-2 with a 3.52 ERA on the mound.

Roberts earned second-team All-America honors as a junior after posting an 8-4 record with a 2.34 ERA in 14 appearances as a pitcher and batting .286 with 12 homers and 59 RBI.

For his career in Tallahassee, Roberts went 23-8 with a 3.30 ERA as a pitcher, while batting .301 with 32 home runs and 175 RBI in three years in the outfield. He helped lead Florida State to the College World Series in 1991 and '92.

Roberts played for Team USA in the 1991 Pan Am Games in Havana, Cuba, and then was the starting left fielder for the USA Olympic baseball team in Barcelona, Spain, in 1992.

The New York Mets picked Roberts in the first round of Major League Baseball's June draft in '92. He played in the Mets organization from 1993-97 before moving on to one-year minor-league stints with the Oakland Athletics (1998), Colorado Rockies (1999) and Milwaukee Brewers (2001).

Roberts spent the 2000 season with the Chiba Lotte Marines in the Japanese Pacific League.

Roberts will inherit a strong pitching staff at N.C. State. The Wolfpack posted a 4.14 staff ERA last season, and strong pitching helped lead the Wolfpack to a 45-18 record and a berth in the NCAA Super Regionals in Coral Gables, Fla.

Three N.C. State pitchers -- senior righthander Vern Sterry, redshirt-freshman righthander Michael Rogers and freshman righthander Joey Devine -- earned All-America honors. It marked the first time an ACC school has had three pitchers make All-America.

"Having all that experience on hand should certainly make the transition easier for me," Roberts said. "With some of those guys, I'll try not to get in their way and at the same time try to bring some of the other guys along.

"It is a tremendous staff, and they had a great season. I got to see some of those guys first-hand when we played them, and they have some tremendous arms, yet there is still some upside. That's exciting."