Jim Miller, VMI director of athletics, announced the promotion of Sam Roberts ’11 to head baseball coach Friday, Aug. 5.
“I am pleased to announce Sam Roberts as the head coach of VMI baseball,” Miller said. “From his playing days on post to his return as an assistant coach in fall 2016, Sam has played an important role in the Keydet baseball program. He is clearly the right person to move us forward.”
A 2011 graduate, Roberts becomes the 21st head coach in the program’s history. Roberts spent the 2017 season as a volunteer assistant with the VMI program after retiring from the professional ranks following spring training 2016.
“It is a tremendous honor to be chosen to lead a team and program that has given so much to me over the years as a player, cadet, alumni, and coach,” said Roberts. “I want to thank General Wins [’85] and Jim Miller for giving me this opportunity, as well as Emily Fulton [’18] and Lenny Brown, as they were first class as I went through this process. I also want to thank Jonathan [Hadra ’04] for helping me get to this point in my career and for all he has done to lift this program up over the past eight seasons.”
Roberts was promoted to VMI’s associate head coach/recruiting coordinator in fall 2020 after serving as an assistant coach for four years. During 2018, Roberts worked with staff, including Josh Winder ’19, then a 2nd Class cadet who was drafted in the seventh round by the Twins. Roberts also mentored Matt Eagle ’18, who posted the third-most saves in a single season in VMI history and went on to sign a free agent contract with the Los Angeles Angels. In 2019, Zak Kent ’20, then a 2nd Class cadet, was drafted by the Texas Rangers in the ninth round after setting the program record for strikeouts in a single season.
As VMI’s all-time hits leader, Roberts ranks in the program’s top three in nine career categories and leads in hits, walks, at-bats, runs scored, and games played. He was also a regular on the mound, both in starting and relief roles. Roberts was drafted by Oakland following the 2011 season and spent five seasons in the A’s system. Following the 2013 season, Roberts transitioned full-time to the mound and spent his final two professional seasons in that role.
Roberts replaces Jonathan Hadra ’04, who has moved on to pursue other coaching opportunities.
“I am fired up to continue the great work being done within this organization as we continue to improve facilities, raise scholarships, and work towards creating cadet-athletes who are prepared for life on and off the field,” said Roberts. “I believe in the young men we have on our roster and am committed to adding first-class players to this team. There is much work to be done, but the future is bright for VMI baseball—all of which is possible through the continued support of our alumni, donors, and supportive administration at VMI. It’s time to go to work. Go Keydets!”
Roberts is married to the former Haley Taylor, and the couple have two children, Madison, 3, and Grady, 1.
Editor’s Note: This article was first published on vmikeydets.com.