Terry Alexander enters his 34th year (23rd as head coach) and final season at Jacksonville University after announcing in November he will retire following the 2013 campaign.
Since being named head coach in 1991, Alexander has tallied a program-record 713 wins, led JU to 10 NCAA Regional appearances, won six conference championships (1995, 1999, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009) and has posted five 40-win seasons.
He has also coached 15 All-America honorees, 78 all-conference selections and helped 54 players get drafted by Major League Baseball organizations.
Alexander has had four players reach the majors, including current New York Mets infielder Daniel Murphy (2004-06) when he got called up in 2008. His contributions to baseball were also recognized in 2002 when he was selected to serve as one of three coaches for Team USA that summer, coaching a squad made up of the top collegiate players in the country.
Despite a tough 2012 season, Alexander secured his 700th career win with the Dolphins’ 9-2 victory at USF in March.
Juniors Adam Brett Walker II and Dan Gulbransen each secured A-Sun first team all-conference honors, while newcomer Alex McRae was a dual threat for JU in the field and on the hill to receive all-freshman honors. Senior Jonathan Murphy ranked in the top five nationally with a career-best 41 steals in his final season.
For his 4.0 GPA classroom and work on the field, Gulbransen was also named the A-Sun’s first Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Murphy also joined Gulbransen on the scholar-athlete squad.
In June, Walker II, who led JU in most offensive categories, was drafted in the third round by Minnesota Twins. Gulbrasen (16th round, Houston Astros) and Murphy (19th round, Twins) would also hear their names called in the Major League Baseball Draft.
In 2011, the Dolphins posted a 37-24 mark en route to earning an at-large berth to their fourth NCAA regional in the last six seasons. JU finished with 21 wins at home and a 19-11 record in A-Sun play to pick up the No. 2 seed for the A-Sun Tournament. Along the way, the Dolphins handed national runner-up Florida its worst loss at home, 11-2, on May 17.
Walker led the A-Sun with a .409 batting average, 99 hits and 23 doubles en route to A-Sun Player of the Year and first team all-conference honors. He also was the District III Player of the Year by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers of America (NCBWA) and a semifinalist for the Dick Howser Trophy (NCBWA) and Golden Spikes Award (USA Baseball).
Walker became the first Dolphin since Casey Schumaker in 2001 with multiple All-America awards after earning first team honors from Perfect Game USA and second team accolades from the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA), Baseball America, Louisville Slugger (Collegiate Baseball), the NCBWA and CollegeBaseballInsider.com.
Counting Walker, the Dolphins had a program-best eight A-Sun all-conference honors. Sophomore centerfielder Dan Gulbransen joined Walker on the first team, while junior starting pitcher Steve Eagerton, junior shortstop Jimmy Howick and freshman reliever Chris Anderson garnered second team accolades. Anderson also picked up all-freshman honors with second baseman Taylor Ratliff and starting pitcher Tony Mollica.
Ratliff and Anderson received freshman All-America accolades from the NCBWA, while Anderson got the same honor from Collegiate Baseball. Walker and Gulbransen also earned all-south region honors from the ABCA.
Following the season, Howick was selected in the 21st round of the MLB draft by the Houston Astros, while senior pitcher Matthew Tomshaw was taken in the 42nd round by the Minnesota Twins. Senior catcher Alex Swenson had a tryout with the Kansas City Royals that led to a contract with the Newark Bears of Canadian American Association of Professional Baseball.
In 2010, the squad had to wait until the last weekend of the regular season to qualify for the conference tournament but made a huge run when it got there.
After dropping their first game to Mercer, the Dolphins won elimination games against Stetson and UNF before eventually falling to the Bears in the championship game.
JU earned five all-conference selections, led by freshman center fielder Dan Gulbransen’s first team, all-freshman and Freshman of the Year honors. Freshman designated hitter Adam Brett Walker earned second team honors while also being selected to the all-freshman team. Junior pitchers Matt Tomshaw and Chris Kaminski and junior shortstop Jamaal Hawkins also garnered second team honors.
Gulbransen and Walker also added to their budding resumes by earning Freshman All-America accolades from Collegiate Baseball and Ping!Baseball.com.
Along with adding career win No. 650 with a 4-0 victory over FIU (4/28), Alexander saw more of his players earn a chance at the next level as Matt Loosen (23rd round - Chicago Cubs) and Hawkins (28th round - Minnesota Twins) were each selected in the 2010 MLB Draft. Senior pitcher Kyle Kriech also signed a free-agent contract with the Kansas City Royals the next day.
In 2009, Alexander enjoyed a historic year by earning his 600th career win while also leading the Dolphins to their third A-Sun title and NCAA Regional bid in the last four years - the most successful run in program history.
The Dolphins finished the season third in the conference standings but earned the No. 1 seed in the A-Sun Tournament in DeLand, Fla. Despite several games being cancelled due to rain through the entire week, JU secured the tournament title with a pair of comeback wins over Belmont (7-5) and Lipscomb (7-4).
JU earned five all-conference selections on the season as senior catcher Jeremy Gillan and junior second baseman Chuck Opachich were each named first team, Loosen and Kaminski were second team honorees and outfielder Jonathan Murphy earned all-freshman accolades.
The Dolphins also had two players selected in the 2009 MLB Draft as Gillan (17th round) and junior pitcher Carson Andrew (28th round) were each selected by the Los Angeles Angels. In 2007, his squad proved the program’s grit by repeating its path to the NCAAs the same way as it did in 2003, battling through the loser’s bracket to win the conference tournament as the No. 4 seed.
The Dolphins entered the 2007 Atlantic Sun conference tournament as the No. 4 seed and dropped its opening game to No. 2 Belmont. Behind the strongest pitching performances of the year, and plenty of timely hitting, the squad rattled off four consecutive wins to secure its third tournament title since joining the A-Sun in 1999.
JU also received individual accolades after the season as senior outfielder Pete Clifford gave the Dolphins back-to-back All-America selections (Matt Dobbins - 2006) and A-Sun Player of the Year honors (Daniel Murphy - 2006) before being drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 20th round of the MLB Draft.
Along with Clifford, Opachich was named to the A-Sun and Ping!Baseball all-freshman team and junior pitcher Matt Gardner earned second team all-conference honors.
The 2006 season proved to be one of the top performances in program history as the Dolphins won their first A-Sun regular-season crown with a program-best 23-7 record and reached the conference tournament. JU earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Regionals in Athens, Ga. while compiling the second highest win total in program history (43).
Alexander, who earned his 500th career win on March 2, 2006 with a 10-4 decision over Western Michigan, was named A-Sun “Coach of the Year” for the third time.
Among the other accomplishments during the year, the Dolphins received votes in two of the four major polls, registered five votes in the USA Today Top 25 Coaches’ Poll to sit in the 39th spot in the nation and were also receiving votes from the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA).
JU also finished second in the nation with an 18-4 road record, behind only Rice (17-3), tied for the longest road winning streak in the nation at six games, tied for 14th in the nation with 43 wins, ranked 19th in the nation with a .712 winning percentage and was 42nd in the nation with a .05599 Rating Percentage Index (RPI).
The accolades did not end there as Dobbins became the program’s first All-America selection since Casey Shumaker in 2001, while also garnering all-region and conference Pitcher of the Year honors after tying for the most wins in the nation (12). Daniel Murphy garnered conference Player of the Year honors after batting .398 for the season and Clifford also earned first team all-conference accolades.
Murphy, who became the fifth Dolphin to be named conference Player of the Year, was also the highest JU player drafted in the MLB Draft (13th round - New York Mets) since the Dolphins moved into the A-Sun in 1999. He was joined by senior first baseman Gordie Gronkowski, who was drafted in the 49th round by the Los Angeles Angels.
Along with the success on the field, Alexander revealed the next stage in the history of John Sessions Stadium. After years of planning, JU added additional stands above the dugouts to increase the capacity to more than 3,000. In 2005, the Dolphins jumped out of the gate with their best start to a season (7-1) since 1999 but cooled towards the end after being bitten by the injury bug for the second straight year. Junior pitcher Kyle DeVries was named second team all-A-Sun while shortstop Matt Lopez and pitcher Brock Schnabel were selected to the all-freshman team.
Junior pitcher Neal Frontz (Tampa Bay Devil Rays - 24th round) signed a major league contract after being selected in the 2005 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft. He was joined by senior pitcher Brett Nagy and senior catcher Alex Jamieson, who each signed rookie free agent contracts with the Devil Rays. It marked the first time three Dolphins signed major league contracts in one year since 2002.
In 2004, JU battled a series of injuries to key members of the squad as the Dolphins leaned on ace Dennis Robinson, who finished second in the nation with 13 regular-season wins to earn first team A-Sun honors. Third baseman Orlando Diaz and infielder/pitcher Donald Brickle joined Robinson as first team all-conference selections, while Clifford earned A-Sun all-freshman honors.
Diaz (San Diego Padres - 27th round) and junior pitcher Chris Kelly (Tampa Bay Devil Rays - 46th round) were both selected in the 2004 MLB Amateur Draft. Robinson signed with the Baltimore Orioles on Aug. 4 after competing for the Orleans Cardinals of the Cape Cod Summer League.
In 2003, Alexander led JU to its third NCAA Regional in five seasons after winning the 2003 A-Sun Championship. JU defeated No. 15 Miami, No. 18 Notre Dame and No. 12 Florida Atlantic, while taking series wins over UCF, Jacksonville State and Miami. The Dolphins became just the second No. 6 seed to win the conference tournament after defeating Stetson, 7-1, earning a trip to the NCAA Regionals in Tallahassee, where JU joined South Alabama, Rutgers and No. 1 Florida State. Also during the 2003 campaign, Alexander became JU’s all-time winningest coach with his 433rd victory in a 7-4 win over Bethune-Cookman on April 30. He surpassed Tom Bradley, who won 432 games in 12 seasons.
Outfielder Chad Hauseman, who was drafted in the 24th round by the Anaheim Angels, was voted 2003 A-Sun Player of the Year and earned collegebaseballinsider.com All-America honors. Gronkowski earned Louisville Slugger Freshman All-America accolades and was voted A-Sun Freshman of the Year. Brickle earned A-Sun all-freshman team honors, while pitcher Bobby Bowman was drafted in the 19th round by the Texas Rangers.
The 2002 season played out like a rollercoaster for the Dolphins as they faced one of the toughest schedules in school history with 10 opponents who advanced to the NCAA Regionals, including two Super Regionals. JU had key wins over No. 1 Florida State, No. 5 Florida and defending national champion Miami, while also winning the season series against conference champion UCF.
Right-hander Bryan Williams, who was drafted in the 27th round by the Anaheim Angels, led the nation in ERA for much of the season, while Darren Truty emerged as a force on the mound en route to second team all-conference honors. Right-hander Josh Deel and catcher Alex Jamieson were named to the A-Sun all-freshman team. Chad Oliva, who was drafted in the 18th round by the Philadelphia Phillies, wrapped up his four-year career under Alexander as JU's all-time leader in home runs (43), RBI (231) and walks (145), while ranking in the top three in seven other offensive categories.
In 2001, Alexander led the Dolphins to their second NCAA Regional in three seasons after advancing to the conference championship game and finishing the season with a 39-25 record. The Dolphins finished the regular season third in the A-Sun with an 18-9 record and advanced to the championship game of the conference tournament after winning 15 of their last 18 contests. Casey Shumaker was one of the most dominant closers in the nation, leading the NCAA with 117 strikeouts, while posting a 1.91 ERA and earning All-America honors from the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA. Oliva, Phil Nover and Scott Biernacki joined Shumaker as A-Sun all-conference selections.
Alexander's successes have come not only in his on-the-field efforts, but also off the diamond as he masterminded the completion of renovations at John Sessions Stadium, which helped JU host the A-Sun Championship in 2000 and 2001. Alexander has helped raise more than $1 million, which helped increase Sessions Stadium’s seating capacity to more than 3,000.
After joining the program in 1980 as an assistant coach, Alexander's work ethic and knowledge of the game helped him work his way up the coaching ladder. He was promoted to associate head coach in 1988 and was named the school's sixth head coach after the 1990 season. He has handled nearly all aspects of Dolphin baseball as assistant and associate head coach, including team hitting, fielding, recruiting and fundraising. Through his guidance, the Dolphins set new standards of excellence in almost every offensive category, including four NCAA hitting records. He also helped the 1983 Dolphin squad lead the nation with an eye-popping 110 home runs.
His success as a head coach was evident during his first season as JU's skipper, leading the Dolphins to the Sun Belt Conference Eastern Division title, a berth in the Sun Belt Conference championship and the program’s fifth bid to the NCAA Regionals after posting a 43-21-2 mark. The 43 wins were the most by a first-year head coach at JU, second-most in the history of Dolphin baseball and helped Alexander earn 1991 Sun Belt Conference “Coach of the Year” honors.
The Dolphins earned their way back into the postseason in 1994 as Alexander led his club to a 40-win season and finished the year ranked No. 24 in the final Collegiate Baseball poll.
The script was similar in 1995 as Alexander's club returned to the NCAA Regionals after winning the Sun Belt Championship to finish 41-22.
Injuries slowed the squad in 1997, but the Dolphins were back in the Sun Belt Tournament in 1998 after a 31-27 year.
During that season, Alexander posted his 250th career win with a 9-4 win over Texas-Pan American and snapped No. 5 Florida’s 18-game home winning streak with a 13-8 win.
Alexander and his team made the jump from the Sun Belt to the A-Sun prior to the 1999 season. The Dolphins won the A-Sun Championship in their first year in the league and advanced to the NCAA Regionals for the fourth time under Alexander’s guidance, while posting a 41-23 record.
Along the way, Alexander won his 300th career game with an 11-4 victory over Stetson on May 2.
Before arriving at JU, Alexander spent the 1979 season as head coach at Orange Park High School, where he led the Raiders to their first conference championship and a 27-5 season, and was named North Florida High School “Coach of the Year”.
Alexander's one-year stint at Orange Park came on the heels of a two-year stay in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization before a back injury ended his playing career. Alexander had a stellar collegiate career at Florida State as an outfielder. He earned his B.S. in physical education from Florida State in 1977 and received his M.A. in physical education from North Florida in 1981.
An adventurous type, Alexander successfully climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa (19,565 ft.), in 1995, and Mt. McKinley in Denali, Alaska (20,320 ft.), in 1998.
Alexander, who is married to the former Miriam Rust in the summer of 2009, resides in Jacksonville and has one son, Tyler.