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Tommy Raffo will step down as head baseball coach at Arkansas State



Jonesboro, Arkansas – A leadership change in baseball was announced by Arkansas State University.

Tommy Raffo will not be back as head baseball coach at A-State for the upcoming season, according to a statement issued by Vice Chancellor for Intercollegiate Athletics Jeff Purinton.

“Following a comprehensive evaluation of our baseball program, we determined that this is the appropriate time to make a change with our head coaching position,” Purinton said in a release.

Raffo finished last in the Sun Belt Conference after 16 seasons with the Red Wolves, going 21-32-1 overall. The former baseball star for Mississippi State finished with an overall record of 382-457-2. He is the program’s most successful coach ever. His tenure began with winning seasons, many runs in the Sun Belt Tournament, and 17 selections in the MLB Draft. He also had 15 all-conference players.

For the first time since 1996, A-State advanced to the Sun Belt championship game in 2012. That season, Raffo was recognized as the league’s Coach of the Year. Since 1994, the school has not taken home a Sun Belt Tournament Championship.

Raffo inked a two-year contract extension in June 2023 that would pay him $77,000 year and last until the 2025 season. According to the terms of the contract, the school would have to pay Raffo one month’s salary within 30 days of his termination if he was let go after the 2024 campaign.

A-State intends to “continue to work to enhance all areas of the baseball program” in addition to launching a nationwide search right away. In terms of overall funding, Arkansas State baseball was bottom in the Sun Belt, per a 2023 Equity in Athletics Data Analysis report.

“We gotta figure out what we’re going to do with the field and the stadium there,” Purinton said during a Howl on Wheels roadshow stop in Paragould earlier in May. “Taking an in-depth look at it, I think turf is something we need to do. You see that with a lot of our area teams, even high schools have some really nice turf fields. Obviously, depending on funding, as everything else is. I think turfing the whole field. Just so it’s consistent, and then you can get the drainage right. And then if we do have rain or bad weather…it’s not just the games, it’s practice time which is extremely valuable.”

The program’s most recent significant improvement to the stadium was the installation of a new bullpen in right-center field in 2022.

The Scarlet and Black have struggled recently, even though the Sun Belt is getting stronger as the conference sends four teams to the NCAA Regional Tournament for the third consecutive year. A-State routinely placed third in the conference in both record and the majority of statistical categories. The Red Wolves last had a winning record at the end of Sun Belt play in 2014.

“We want to thank Coach Raffo for his many contributions to our baseball program, university, athletics department, and community during his 16 years as our head baseball coach,” Purinton added. “He committed himself to running a first-class program, and the professional manner in which his teams consistently conducted business was a direct reflection of his high character.”

There won’t be a head coach named in interim. Arkansas State Athletics’ whole press announcement is available to read below.



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