The Citadel baseball head coach Fred Jordan announced his retirement Thursday, concluding a 26-year career as the Bulldogs’ skipper with a record of 831-708 (.540).
“I have been blessed to serve nearly three decades at my alma mater,” Coach Jordan said. “This was a difficult decision, but I will cherish the time spent and relationships developed at The Citadel forever. My greatest satisfaction has not been championships or wins but the impact on young people’s lives that they acknowledge when they come back or reach out during difficult, exciting or significant times. None of our success would have been possible without the great people involved with this program, and I want to thank all of the former players, coaches, staff members and administration for their hard work and support.”
Jordan, whose 831 career wins include 399 victories in conference play, is the Southern Conference’s all-time wins leader by a large margin and also holds the record for most SoCon wins in a career. Jordan leaves the Southern Conference with 190 more wins than fellow Bulldog skipper Chal Port, who is second on the all-time wins list with 641, and 96 more SoCon wins than Rodney Hennon, who won 303 conference games at Western Carolina and Georgia Southern to rank second in conference wins.
The Citadel won 40 or more games in a season two times under Jordan’s leadership, including a 43-win season in 2010 that is second only to the 1990 College World Series team on the program’s all-time list, and topped 30 wins in 18 seasons. The Bulldogs made seven NCAA Tournament appearances with Jordan at the helm and won at least one game four times, claiming a victory over Virginia Tech in 1994, a win over Fordham in 1998, a victory over Coastal Carolina in 2004 and another win against Virginia Tech in 2010. In 1994, The Citadel also won a best-of-three play-in series against MTSU for a bid to the Clemson Regional, where it defeated Virginia Tech.
Jordan led the Bulldogs to five Southern Conference championships and seven Southern Conference Tournament titles, including regular-season and tournament sweeps in 1995, 1999 and 2010. Additionally, The Citadel finished as the SoCon Tournament runner-up in 1996, 2005, 2007 and 2013. The four-time Southern Conference Coach of the Year mentored 12 All-Americans, eight SoCon Pitchers of the Year, including 2017 award winner JP Sears, one SoCon Player of the Year, four SoCon Freshmen of the Year, 68 All-Southern Conference performers and 35 MLB Draft selections, including eight taken in the first 10 rounds and three drafted in the first five rounds.
Jordan’s hard-working teams and his aggressive schedules that annually featured the top programs in the country entertained fans of all ages, turning Joe Riley Park into a hotspot for the Charleston community. In 2001, The Citadel’s cumulative attendance of 53,501 ranked 25th in the country, the only time the Bulldogs have ranked among the top-25 in attendance.
A 1979 graduate of The Citadel and standout pitcher, Jordan helped the Bulldogs win a SoCon title his senior season. He then embarked on a 12-year career as a high school coach where he compiled a record of 226-87 (.722) before returning to his alma mater.
“I am appreciative of Coach Jordan’s leadership of our baseball program,” The Citadel Athletic Director Jim Senter said. “He helped build one of the premier programs in the Southern Conference and sustained that success for more than a quarter of a century. Coach Jordan is one of the best leaders of young men in the country, and we are proud that he led our program with dignity and respect. We will start our search for The Citadel’s next head baseball coach immediately.”
Reaction to the news immediately started pouring in from around the college baseball community early Thursday.
"Congratulations to Coach Jordan and The Citadel on a wonderful career." former South Carolina head coach and current Athletic Director Ray Tanner said in a statement. "Coach Jordan has made a tremendous impact on young people for many, many years while winning baseball games at a high level. I always had the utmost respect for his program and how his teams competed on the field. No matter the outcome or what happened between the lines, we always had a handshake, great conversation, and enjoyed a few laughs following the game."
“Coach Jordan is more than just a great coach. He’s been a great husband and father and for that, a huge inspiration to many." said Louisville head coach Dan McDonnell, an alum of The Citadel and a former assistant coach under Jordan. "I learned a lot about the game as well as how to lead and teach young men and prepare them for the real world. He is what The Citadel is all about and he showed me that working hard and dreaming big is a key to being successful. I use many of his coaching phrases and staples today. I would not be where I am if it weren’t for the opportunity Coach Jordan gave me and the time and investment he made in helping me grow in all areas.”
Another former Bulldog player and assistant coach, current Indiana head coach Chris Lemonis said “I would like to wish good luck to Coach Jordan and his wife Debbie on their retirement. I was very fortunate to be a player and an assistant coach under him. He is a strong mentor and even closer friend to me and my family. His 26 years at The Citadel is an amazing accomplishment. He coached baseball and life the right way.”
"Words cannot express my gratitude and appreciation to Coach Jordan and The Citadel baseball program." said former Bulldogs ace Asher Wojciechowski who's currently pitching in the majors for the Cincinnati Reds. "I would not be the man I am today without his guidance and leadership. He is what The Citadel is all about, 100% a leader. He demanded your best effort, paid attention to every detail and held you accountable for everything. I could go on and on about all the great things that coach Jordan has done but instead I just want to say Thank you Coach. Thank you for all you've done for me, my family, Citadel baseball, and NCAA baseball."
"It's pretty hard to sum up Coach Jordan and his impact in a single statement." said Summerville native James Reeves, who pitched for the coach at The Citadel and now plays in the Yankees organization. "You'd have to sit down and talk for hours to even scratch the surface. He knew when to be hard on you, and he also knew when to pat you on the back. Most importantly, he was never scared to tell you the truth. I know I wouldn't be the man or the ball player I am today without my time playing for him. I am grateful for the time and dedication he put into the program I was so blessed to play for. Not every kid gets to play for a legend."
Dallas McPherson, who played for Jordan before being a 2nd round pick in the major league draft said "Coach Jordan's coaching resume speaks for itself but it's the things that can't be found in a record book anywhere that makes him special. Who he is as a person, a husband and a father and the example he sets for his players to follow has made more of an impact on young men's lives than any win ever could. As a coach myself now I find myself constantly reverting back to my time as a player there and using the lessons and principles I learned from coach jordan thru his leadership and guidance. I can't thank coach Jordan enough for what he has meant and how much of an impact he has made on my life. He's one of the greatest college coaches to put on the uniform but for me he's one of the greatest men I've ever had the pleasure to know."
"Fred Jordan's been a real credit not only to The Citadel program but to the Southern Conference. His success in the conference is unparalleled. We'll miss him and wish him the best." said Southern Conference commissioner John Iamarino.