Blaine McFerrin joined the Western Michigan staff as an assistant coach in July 2010 and was promoted to associate head coach in May 2012. McFerrin oversees the Bronco pitching staff and coordinates recruiting efforts.
A former student-athlete under current Bronco head coach Billy Gernon at IPFW, McFerrin also began his coaching career with Gernon and the Mastodons.
The Bronco pitching staff had a 4.81 ERA and posted three shutouts, with two different Bronco hurlers throwing complete games. The pitching staff tallied 14 saves, second most in a single season, and allowed just 22 home runs, the fewest since 1993, and only 133 extra-base hits.
Southpaw Casey Webber earned MAC Pitcher of the Week honors and finished in the top five for career strikeouts and career innings pitched. RHP Monty Porter set a new school record for appearances in a single season, toeing the rubber 29 times.
In non-conference play, Western Michigan notched wins over Notre Dame and Big Ten opponents Northwestern, Ohio State and Michigan. The victory over Michigan snapped a 10-game skid against the Wolverines and was WMU's first win against U-M since 2003.2011:
McFerrin's guidance was instrumental as Western Michigan made a 14-game improvement from 2010 to 2011, ranking the Broncos 10th among NCAA Division I institutions in terms of program turn around. The Broncos finished the 2011 season with an overall record of 26-31 after going 12-42 the season prior.
McFerrin helped WMU improve its ERA from 7.62 to 4.03, its lowest team ERA since 1993 and the staff rang up 367 strikeouts, the most for the Brown & Gold since 2001. Western Michigan was even more impressive during Mid-American Conference play, dropping their 4.03 ERA to 3.46. The 2011 squad also set a new school record for saves with 16, surpassing the previous high of 13. Other impressive numbers included five shutouts, a .278 batting average against and just 128 extra base hits allowed, the fewest since 2006.
The Bronco pitching staff was named Insidepitching.com National Pitching Staff of the Week on March 21 after recording the three-game shutout sweep of Akron. The Broncos went 34.1 innings without giving up a run, not allowing a run in the final five innings to Cincinnati prior to the Akron series and holding Oakland scoreless for the first 2.1 innings following. It was the first time in school history WMU had completed a three-game shutout sweep of a conference foe.
A pair of Bronco pitchers were selected in the Major League Draft, RHP Brian Stroud going to the Detroit Tigers in the 31st round and RHP Eric Heckaman going to the Tigers in the 35th round. The Broncos' Friday ace, Stroud returned from an injury plagued 2010 season and posted an 8-4 record with a 3.20 ERA, garnering Second Team All-MAC honors. Additionally, he was twice named MAC Pitcher of the Week.
Moving from a starter role to the team's closer, Heckaman had the most productive season of his career, posting 10 saves, second most in a single season in WMU history. Heckaman was lights out during the early part of the season, going 26.0 innings before giving up his first earned run against Eastern Michigan on April 24.
With 10 pickoffs in the season, giving him 20 for his career, junior Casey Webber became the program's leader for pickoffs in a season and pickoffs in a career. Webber led the Broncos with 77 strikeouts in 88.0 innings pitched and had the lowest ERA among the weekend rotation with a 2.86 ERA.
The Broncos advanced to the MAC Tournament for the first time since 2008, securing the No. 7 seed, and recorded the program's first postseason win since 1998, upsetting No. 2 seed Central Michigan, 9-7, in the first round. It was just the fourth time since 2000 WMU had advanced to the conference tournament.
PRIOR TO WMU:
Georgia State posted 34 wins in 2010, which ranked as the second most victories in program history, while the pitching staff finished with 454 strikeouts, just 20 shy of the record-shattering mark set during the 2009 season. McFerrin helped lead a record six players to All-CAA honors during the season, and Justin Malone broke the school record for career saves in just his second season.
The Panthers broke the school records for batting average, slugging percentage, runs scored, hits, doubles, home runs, total bases, RBIs, base on balls, conference wins, conference winning percentage and home winning percentage. The squad sat among the top of the NCAA rankings in several categories during the year, including strikeouts per game, which Georgia State finished among the top 40 in the nation. Offensively, the squad finished tops in the NCAA in runs scored per game and sacrifice flies. GSU also returned to the CAA Championship game for the second-straight year.
The Panthers set a school record for wins in 2009 with 39, earning its first-ever CAA Championship and appearance in an NCAA Regional. Under McFerrin's watch, the pitching staff shattered both the school strikeout and saves record. The Panthers eclipsed the strikeout record by over 100, setting a new standard of 474. The bullpen record 19 saves, breaking the record of 12 set in 2005.
Georgia State fielded two All-CAA selections, two All-CAA Tournament picks, a CAA All-Rookie Team nod and a Louisville Sluuger and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Freshman All-American. In 2008, the school produced a one All-CAA team member.
In McFerrin's first season, two players earned CAA Pitcher-of-the-Week honors and Adam Bowling signed with the Chicago White Sox organization as an undrafted free agent.
McFerrin played two seasons at IPFW (1999-2000) after transferring from Kentucky Wesleyan. He capped his senior season with a 2-0 record and a team-leading 3.29 ERA as the Mastodons set a school record for conference wins in 2000. His career cut short by an arm injury, he began his coaching career with Gernon at IPFW from 2001-03. McFerrin spent the 2004 season at Division III Earlham College in Richmond, Ind., before returning to IPFW in 2005.