With 14 years of head coaching experience, Marlin Ikenberry has been known for impressive recruiting and passion for the sport. His path to James Madison university helps tell the tale of the coach he is today.[divider]
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After finish his playing career where he was a starting catcher for four years, Ikenberry was an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at William & Mary for three seasons. In his last season at the school, The Tribe won a CAA title and clinched an NCAA Tournament berth. He helped recruit big-leaguers and Tribe alumnus Brendan Harris and Chris Ray. Both athletes spent nine or more seasons in Major League Baseball.
Hired as a recruiting coordinator and pitching & catching coach in 2000 at his alma mater Virginia Military Institute, Ikenberry quickly climbed the ranks and earned himself a head coaching position.
He holds the VMI record for most wins (282) and the longest tenured coach (11 years) in school history. Ikenberry transformed a program that won 20 or more games just twice in the previous nine seasons.
During his tenure, he led the Keydets to their first three 30-win seasons in school history and won fewer than 20 only twice. His 34-win season in 2007 is still the record to beat in Keydet history. The program produced 15 MLB Draft picks and averaged 25 wins a year.
Now at the helm in Harrisonburg and entering season four, the Dukes of JMU have compiled a record of 74-84 under coach Ikenberry. In 2018, he led the team to their best record since 2011 (26-26). For two consecutive seasons, the Dukes had five players land on All-CAA Conference teams — led by Adam Sisk who was also all-conference both seasons.
In 2017, JMU received national attention for receiving votes in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Poll and when players Brett Johnson and Colton Harlow won National Player of the Week Awards. In addition, Kevin Kelly and Fox Semones were named Collegiate Baseball Freshman All-Americans, a feat that has not been achieved by more than one freshman since 2008.
In Ikenberry's first season, the Dukes finished fourth in CAA play and won their first CAA Tournament game in three years defeating Northeastern 3-2.
With 11 freshmen and a number of accomplished collegiate vets, the Dukes should be set up for an exciting season.
JMU starts the 2019 season at home versus Norfolk State University at 3 pm on Fri., Feb. 15.