Nick Ammirati joins Bulldog coaching staff
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Nick Ammirati joins Bulldog coaching staff

Nick Ammirati
Photo: UGAAA

ATHENS, Ga. – Nick Ammirati has joined the Bulldog coaching staff, University of Georgia’s Ike Cousins head baseball coach Wes Johnson announced Tuesday.

Ammirati (am-uh-RAH-tee), comes to Georgia after spending the past three seasons as an assistant at the University of Kentucky on Nick Mingione’s staff. The Wildcats made their first College World Series in 2024, finished with a school record 46-15 mark, and claimed the program’s second-ever SEC title after going 22-8 in league play.

“We’re excited to add Nick to our staff as he’s a dynamic recruiter and instructor plus he’s experienced success at every level of his baseball playing and coaching career,” said Johnson.

The 2024 Kentucky offense, directed by Ammirati, led the Southeastern Conference (SEC) with 120 stolen bases, and in SEC action, the Wildcats led the league in batting average, on base percentage, runs scored, hits, doubles, RBI and stolen baes. Nick Lopez earned 2nd Team All-America honors and 1st Team All-SEC while Ryan Waldschmidt was a 3rd Team All-American and made second team All-SEC. Mitchell Daly and Emilien Pitre, who was tabbed a 3rd Team All-American, made the All-SEC Defensive Team.

In 2023, in SEC play, UK ranked first in batting average, doubles, triples, stolen bases, sacrifices and second in on base percentage. UK also set the school record for the second straight season and led the nation in overall fielding percentage. In 2023, where UK reached its then second-ever Super Regional with a 40-21 mark, it set the school record for hit by pitch in a season, and for the first time in school history had four players tally 15 or more stolen bases and scored its most runs in an inning (14). The 2023 Wildcats fell to eventual national champion LSU in a Baton Rouge Super Regional. In 2022, UK went 33-26.

Ammirati and current Bulldog assistant head coach Will Coggin were on the same UK staff in 2022 and 2023 and both were at Mississippi State in 2012. In five seasons as a Division-I assistant heading into the 2024 season, Ammirati has had 22 players drafted and three already reach the Major Leagues (through 2022). Ammirati’s track record is notable both as a player in high school and college, and as a coach at the NCAA and NJCAA level.

Prior to heading to Kentucky, Ammirati helped guide Southern Miss to an NCAA Tournament appearance as an assistant coach in 2021 when the Golden Eagles posted a 40-21 mark and reached the Oxford (Miss.) Regional final. USM ranked 17th in home runs, 23rd in doubles and 31st in slugging percentage. Also, he helped infielder Reed Trimble to Perfect Game/Rawlings All-America third-team honors as the all-conference and freshman All-America honoree ranked first nationally in runs batted in and was 24th nationally in home runs.

Before going to USM, Ammirati spent four seasons at Hinds Community College (HCC) as an assistant coach, serving as the program’s recruiting coordinator and the school’s sports information director. In his first three years at Hinds, he was the pitching and catching coach, leading the Eagles to back-to-back regional appearances, including a regional championship and NJCAA Division II World Series appearance in 2017. The 2017 season saw Hinds’ pitching staff rank sixth nationally with a 3.43 Earned Run Average (ERA), which also ranked as the lowest team ERA in program history. The 2018 and 2019 staffs also ranked high, finishing seventh and 20th in the nation, respectively. In 2020 at HCC, he took over coaching third base and helped the team offensively while working primarily with catchers and infielders. The Eagles posted a team batting average of .340 and a .553 slugging percentage. Both marks ranked top-10 nationally. A total of 61 players during his four-year tenure at HCC continued to the next level, including 44 NCAA Division I signees – seven of which signed with SEC schools.

Ammirati came to HCC after two years at Northwestern State where he worked with current Louisiana Tech head coach Lane Burroughs. In his two seasons as assistant coach and camp coordinator in Natchitoches, La., NSU claimed a pair of 30-win seasons and had six players taken in the MLB Draft, including Nick Heath who made his MLB debut in July 2020.

Ammirati’s baseball career began at Seton Hall Prep in West Orange, New Jersey, where he was a high school state and national champion as the team’s starting catcher. The 2007 Seton Hall Prep team went 33-1 due in part to Ammirati and battery mate Rick Porcello, who pitched for the Boston Red Sox and was the 2016 American League Cy Young Award winner.

After getting drafted out of high school in the 46th round by the Miami Marlins in 2009, Ammirati opted for college and enrolled at Seton Hall University. As a freshman in 2010, he played in 22 games with 18 starts before transferring at the end of the season to Panola College in Texas. After a successful one-year stint in Panola, Ammirati transferred to Mississippi State where he played 64 games with 52 starts across two seasons. On top of being the starting catcher in Starkville for the 2013 CWS runner-up squad, Ammirati was the battery mate for 12 pitchers that reached the majors.

Ammirati earned his bachelor’s degree in public relations from Mississippi State in 2013 where he was a two-time SEC Academic Honor Roll honoree. He received his master’s in health and human performance from Northwestern State in 2016. He is married to the former Caroline Pound.

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