The 2010 Ohio Valley Conference Coach of the Year and the 2009
Tennessee Baseball Coaches Association Coach of the Year, Matt
Bragga, enters his tenth season at the helm of the Tennessee Tech
baseball team after leading the Golden Eagles to their fifth
straight appearance in the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament.
With 21 wins in 2012 Bragga eclipsed the 200-win mark as a
head coach for the Golden Eagles and currently owns 215 total
victories. The milestone victory came on the road as Tech took down
in-state powerhouse Tennessee in Knoxville by a score of 5-1.
Since his debut as Tech's head guy in 2004, Bragga owns 144 home
victories. Following last season's 21 wins, the Golden Eagles have
finished six straight seasons with 20 or more wins.
On March 12, 2011, Bragga earned his 175th career win, with
Tech’s 10-6 victory against Youngstown. Down the stretch of
the 2011 season, the Golden Eagles strung together a trifecta of
four-game winning streaks, while taking a pair of wins against
several OVC rivals including Southeast Missouri, Eastern Illinois,
Eastern Kentucky and UT Martin.
A 12-12 mark in OVC play earned Tech its fourth straight
appearance in the OVC Tournament. Tech opened the tournament with a
6-5 victory over Eastern Kentucky, behind the arms of starter
Tristan Archer and closer Cullen Park.
A pair of losses to Austin Peay and Southeast Missouri ended
Tech’s run for it second OVC Tournament championship in three
Five member of the Golden Eagle lineup appeared on the 2010
All-Tournament team, while senior right-hander Lee Henry was named
Ohio Valley Conference Pitcher of the Year. Juniors AJ Kirby-Jones
and Chad Oberacker combined for nine total All-America Team
appearances, boasting selections by Collegiate Baseball News,
Ping!Baseball, Baseball America, the National Collegiate Baseball
Writers Association (NCBWA) and the American Baseball Coaches
Association. The team was also awarded the Ohio Valley Conference
Sportsmanship Award as voted by coaches throughout the OVC.
Additionally, four Golden Eagles were selected in the top 21
rounds of the 2010 Major League Baseball First-Year Player draft.
Junior Stephen Pryor was selected in the 5th round by the Seattle
Mariners, Kirby-Jones in the 9th round by the Oakland A's,
Oberacker in the 19th round by the St. Louis Cardinals, and senior
Adam Liberatore in the 21st round by the Tampa Bay Rays. Recently,
Oberacker was drafted by the Oakland A’s in the 25th round of
the 2011 draft.
In 2009, the Golden Eagles made a thrilling run to sweep the
Ohio Valley Conference baseball tournament and eliminate No. 14
Alabama from the NCAA regionals, setting the standard for what
proved to be an epic 2010 season. They finished the 2009 season
with a 31-24-1 record, marking the first back-to-back 30 win
seasons in Tech history. The Golden Eagles swept the OVC
tournament, going 4-0, including back-to-back extra-inning
victories over Jacksonville State to clinch the OVC title.
They then went on to the NCAA regional in Clemson, S.C., where
they eliminated No. 14 Alabama before being eliminated by eventual
regional-champion Clemson. The Golden Eagles had two all-conference
team members, six all-tournament team members, and the OVC
tournament MVP in A.J. Kirby-Jones. Alex Henry was also named to
the all-regional team at the Clemson Regional. Following the 2009
season, pitcher Ryan Dennick was drafted by Major League
Baseball’s Kansas City Royals.
Bragga has built a solid foundation for his program — on
the field and in the classroom — during his nine seasons as
Golden Eagle head coach, and is confident that Tech Baseball will
continue to reach new heights in and out of the Ohio Valley
In 2011, 10 Golden Eagles were named to the OVC
Commissioner’s Honor Roll, bringing the total number of
players who have earned the honor to 65. This is the second time at
least 10 Golden Eagles have been named to the honor roll in a
season under Bragga.
The veteran coach continues his work toward redefining the
program with high ideals and even greater expectations.
Taking over the head coaching reins in January 2004, Bragga
has shown the dedication needed to win an OVC championship, and his
players exhibit that same down-to-earth determination, day-in and
day-out. His plan has brought about marked improvements in the
team’s on-field performance, academic performance, alumni
support and program facilities.
On the field, Bragga’s silent resolve has taken the
program from a 13-42 record in his first full year in 2005,
improving 5.5 games in 2006 with a record of 18-36, making an eight
game improvement in 2007 with a record of 26-28, and another seven
game improvement in 2008 as the Golden Eagles went 35-23-1, leading
to the OVC championship and an NCAA Regional berth in 2009.
With success on the recruiting trails, Bragga continues to take the
TTU Baseball program to a new level.
Before taking the head coaching position at Tech, Bragga spent
three seasons as an assistant coach at Birmingham Southern College
under head coach Brian Shoop. He spent the majority of his time at
BSC working as the hitting and outfielder coach as well as
recruiting for the Panthers. Under Bragga’s direction, BSC
hitters batted a combined .316 during the 2002 and 2003
In 2003, 10 Panthers hit over .300 for a team batting average
of .318 overall. The Panthers scored 7.9 runs per game which ranked
15th in NCAA Division I. Before moving to the NCAA Division I for
the 2002 season, the Panthers won the NAIA National Championship in
2001 as 11 Panthers hit .300 or better and averaged 8.5 runs per
game. In 2001, the Panthers set a school record for most wins in a
season, going 55-11.
Bragga also owned some head coaching experience before coming
to Tech. At the age of 25, prior to his role at Birmingham
Southern, Bragga served as the head coach at Bevill State (Ala.)
Community College for four seasons.
Bragga took over a Bevill State baseball program that, prior
to his arrival, had an all time record of 175-350 (.343), and was
considered by many one of the worst programs in the state of
Alabama. With the Bears going 39-20 in 1998, Bragga’s second
season at Bevill State resulted in a school record for most wins in
one season. That team also participated in the schools first-ever
postseason tournament. In 1999, Bragga led his squad to a 40-19
record, surpassing his previous record and taking the team to
another regional tournament.
During his time at Bevill, his teams compiled a 148-86 record
and BSCC went from a .343 winning percentage prior to
Bragga’s arrival, to one of Alabama’s best
Community/Junior College programs, amassing a remarkable .630
winning percentage during his time.
Before jumping into the college ranks, Bragga served as head
coach for the Junior American Legion Baseball Team Post 208 that
won the Alabama state championship in 1996. That same year, he also
took on the role as assistant coach for the Tuscaloosa County High
School baseball squad.
One aspect that makes Bragga such an influential coach, and
what some describe as a player’s coach, is that he has
coached and played at nearly every level of baseball. Bragga played
his collegiate career for the University of Kentucky Wildcats,
earning four letters from 1991 to 1994.
He played multiple positions at Kentucky, including outfield,
catcher, first base and designated hitter, and also excelled at the
plate. Bragga earned multiple honors including second-team
All-Southeast region and Southeastern Conference all-tournament
first-team in 1993. In his senior season Bragga finished with a
.408 batting average in SEC play, which ranked him second in the
He also etched his name in the Kentucky baseball record books,
ranking among UK’s all-time best in multiple season and
career categories. During Bragga’s four-year career with UK,
the baseball team compiled the most wins in any four-year period of
UK baseball, a record which was recently broken by the 2005-2008
After graduating from Kentucky with a degree in
communications, Bragga signed as a free agent with the Cincinnati
Reds organization in 1994. He played one season in the Pioneer
League with the Butte (Montana) Copper Kings before moving to
Charleston, W.Va., to play with the Cincinnati Reds’ Single A
affiliate the following season. Bragga earned his master’s
degree from the University of Alabama.
Matt is married to the former Elisa Currins, a 1997 graduate of
the University of Alabama. The couple are the proud parents of two
children — Luke and Emerson.