Former Jackson State head baseball coach Robert Braddy was one of seven new inductees to enter the National College Baseball Hall of Fame at its annual Night of Champions in Lubbock, Texas last week.
Braddy compiled an 824-546 record in 28 years at Jackson State. His teams advanced to the NCAA tournament three times, and he was named NAIA District Coach of the Year twice and SWAC Coach of the Year eight times. He was the first African-American to be inducted into the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2003, and he also was inducted into the JSU Sports Hall of Fame in 1985 and the SWAC Hall of Fame in 2005.
“I’m a country boy from Florence, Mississippi, so it’s an awesome honor,” Braddy said of his induction. “I coached baseball eight years at the high school level. I got a scholarship to go to Jackson State. I was eventually offered the job after eight years at the high school level. It was an awesome experience. I just can’t thank Jackson State and my family who are here from all over the place. Jackson State was a blessing in disguise. It was an awesome experience for me.”
Braddy is the winningest baseball coach in Southwestern Athletic Conference history. Between 1973 and 2001 his teams won 12 conference championships, more than any other coach in league history, and he led the Tigers to three NCAA Tournament appearances, two NCAA play-in games and four NAIA Tournaments. He was named SWAC Coach of the Year nine times. During his 28 year coaching career, 52 of his players reach the professional ranks, producing two first round draft picks in David Clark (1983) and Earl Sanders (1986).
In 1978 his Tigers posted a 52-12 record, which is a SWAC and JSU record. Braddy also played baseball for the Tigers under head coach Joe Gilliam, Sr. and was named an All-Conference selection in 1962 and 1963 as a pitcher.
Braddy is only the second coach from the SWAC to be inducted into the NCBHOF. Grambling State’s Ralph Waldo Emerson Jones was inducted in 2011.
The remaining 2016 induction class consisted of coaches in Texas and Cal State Fullerton skipper Augie Garrido as well as Valdosta State coach Tommy Thomas. Four former players also were inducted, including Florida State’s J.D. Drew, Arizona State’s Rick Monday, Houston’s Tom Paciorek and Marietta College’s Matt DeSalvo.
Braddy is pictured below at the 2016 SWAC Baseball Tournament in New Orlean.s