Turning Notre Dame’s baseball program into a contender for an ACC championship won’t be an easy task. The Irish have only finished with a winning record in ACC play once in its first six seasons since joining the conference.
Yet Link Jarrett wants to turn the Irish into an ACC contender. On Friday, Jarrett was named Notre Dame baseball’s new head coach. He replaces Mik Aoki, who led the Irish for nine seasons and was let go in June. Notre Dame finished the 2019 season with a 24-30 record and hasn’t had a winning record since 2015.
“I want to build this program into one that will contend for championships in the ACC,” Jarrett said in the university’s press release. “We have to work tirelessly to upgrade everything that we do in our program. I want this program to be a model of consistency and excellence in college baseball.”
Jarrett joins the Irish after serving as UNC Greensboro’s head coach for the past seven seasons. Jarrett led the Spartans in the Southern Conference to their first-ever conference tournament championship in 2017 and second-ever regular season conference championship in 2018. The 2017 season also included UNC Greensboro’s first trip to the NCAA Tournament in 20 years.
The Spartans finished the 2019 season with a 34-20 record and in third place in the Southern Conference (14-10). UNC Greensboro (UNCG) won 34 or more games in each of the past four seasons under Jarrett. In five of his seven seasons at UNCG, the Spartans led the conference in hitting. They also led the nation in batting average, hits, doubles, triples, slugging percentage and on-base percentage in 2016.
Jarrett started his coaching career 20 years ago at Flagler College in St. Augustine, Fla. He’s since made stops at Florida State, where he played and graduated in 1994, Mercer, East Carolina, Auburn and UNCG. Jarrett was named Southern Conference Coach of the Year in 2016 and 2018 at UNCG, SEC Assistant Coach of the Year by SEBaseball.com at Auburn in 2010, and Conference USA Assistant Coach of the Year by SEBaseball.com at East Carolina in 2009.
“We are thrilled to welcome coach Jarrett and his family to the Notre Dame family,” Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick said in the release. “Link brings a remarkable baseball pedigree to the job, as an elite player, an assistant coach with some of the country’s best collegiate programs, a highly successful head coach, and even as a parent of a current college baseball player. But perhaps most importantly, Link’s passion for teaching young men through baseball matches perfectly with the mission of Notre Dame athletics.”
Jarrett’s oldest of two sons, J.T., started 33 games as a sophomore infielder at N.C. State last season.
Link Jarrett started at shortstop in all four of his seasons at Florida State (1991-94). The Seminoles reached the College World Series in his freshman, junior and senior seasons. He received NCBWA All-America honors as a junior and senior. Jarrett holds the NCAA record for career assists (802) and the Florida State records for consecutive games played (235) and at-bats (989).
The Colorado Rockies selected Jarrett in the 22nd round of the 1994 MLB Draft. He played five seasons in their minor league system, reaching as high as AA before starting his coaching career.
“Link was a self-made player,” former Florida State head coach Mike Martin said in Notre Dame’s release. “He got my attention early with his work ethic, intelligence, and desire. When he became a coach with us, it truly reinforced what I had always thought — that one day he was going to be a Division I head coach. Notre Dame will excel under his leadership.”