Cliff Godwin begins his second season as LSU’s hitting coach. He supervises the Tigers’ offense while also working with the catchers and assisting Terry Rooney in the baseball program’s recruiting effort.
Godwin arrived at LSU in the summer of 2006 after serving one season as the hitting coach at Notre Dame.
In his first season at LSU, Godwin helped to develop a very young Tigers lineup that often included four true freshmen. Two of Godwin’s LSU hitters — outfielder Blake Dean and catcher Sean Ochinko — earned 2007 Freshman All-SEC recognition. Dean was also voted a Freshman All-American by Collegiate Baseball magazine.
Godwin, a former a standout catcher at East Carolina, joined the Notre Dame staff as an assistant coach in the fall of 2005. Under Godwin’s direction, the 2006 Notre Dame hitters compiled the program’s best plate discipline ratio (BB + HBP – Ks) since 1990, finishing at +66 with 247 walks, 100 times hit-by-pitch and just 281 strikeouts (4.5 per game).
The ?06 Irish squad finished with the program’s third-best totals in two categories: 10.81 hits per game and 100 times hit-by-pitch.
Goodwin coached in 2006 Big East player of the year Craig Cooper, a consensus All-American who hit .425 (No. 6 in the nation). Cooper was a seventh-round draft selection as a senior, marking the first time he had been drafted in his career.
Prior to serving as director of baseball operations at Vanderbilt during the 2004-05 academic year, Godwin spent one season as a volunteer assistant coach at UNC Wilmington (2003-2004). His duties at Vanderbilt included helping organize daily activities associated with the baseball program and serving as liaison to the Bullpen Club support group.
Godwin was part of the historic UNCW season in 2004, as the Seahawks claimed their first Colonial Athletic Association conference title and advanced to the final game of the NCAA regional in Kinston, N.C.
Godwin is credited with making a big impact on the young UNCW catchers in 2004. Neal Eichhorn earned all-conference honors that season while Chris Hatcher went on to become a 2005 all-conference catcher and the fifth-round draft pick of the Florida Marlins in 2006. Godwin also assisted with the hitters and was the first-base coach on Mark Scalf’s staff.
An all-region catcher and two-time Academic All-American at East Carolina (1997-2001), Godwin was a three-year team captain who started 126 games in his final three seasons. He earned all-East Region honors from the American Baseball Coaches Association in 2001 after batting .322 with 15 home runs and 45 RBI.
The lefthanded-swinging Godwin was also named first team all-Colonial Athletic Association in 2001, when his other season stats included 14 doubles and 23 walks in 57 games played. One of three ECU players to ever receive Academic All-America honors, Godwin was a third-team Academic All-American in 1999 before being named to the second team in 2001.
Godwin helped Keith LeClair’s ECU teams post a record of 169-76 in four seasons, including 46-plus wins in each of his final three years (46-16 in 1999, 46-18 in 2000, 47-13 in 2001). Godwin’s career totals with the Pirates included 24 home runs, 31 doubles and 95 RBI.
East Carolina won two Colonial Athletic Association tournament titles and advanced to the NCAA Tournament every season from 1999-2001. The Pirates were the top seed in their regional all three years (including 1999 at LSU), advancing to the Super Regional in 2001 before being eliminated by Tennessee. Godwin was named all-tournament at the 2001 NCAA Regional, hosted by ECU in Wilson, N.C.
Godwin – who spent 2003 as an assistant coach at Kinston (N.C.) High School – played two seasons of professional baseball (2001-02) for the Frontier League’s Gateway Grizzlies (based in Sauget, Ill.).
He had the unique experience of serving as head coach for the 2005 Wilmington Sharks, a collegiate summer team in the wood-bat Coastal Plains League. The Sharks finished second in the first-half standings of the CPl’s South Division with a 23-15 record. Godwin also served as a head coach in the 2005 CPL All-Star Game, guiding his team to a 5-3 victory.
The Snow Hill, N.C., native was a three-sport standout at Greene Central High School, earning all-conference honors in football, basketball and baseball. He also was an all-state performer in baseball, starred on the hardwood as a shooting guard for his father’s team and quarterbacked the Greene Central football team to the best season in the school’s history, receiving 1995 conference player of the year honors.
Godwin graduated magna cum laude from East Carolina in December of 2000, with a science degree in management information systems. He received the Pat Draughon Postgraduate Scholarship and – after completing his final season – received his MBA from ECU in 2002.
The Godwin File
Year at LSU: Second
Birthdate: Feb. 2, 1978
Hometown: Snow Hill, N.C.
Education: East Carolina, 2000 ? B.S. in management information systems
East Carolina, 2002 ? Master’s in business administration
1997-2001 East Carolina
2007- LSU (assistant coach/hitting coach)
2006 Notre Dame (assistant coach)
2005 Vanderbilt (director of operations)
2004 UNC-Wilmington (assistant coach)
2003 Kinston (N.C.) High School (assistant coach)