Brandon Rowan begins his third season on the UALR staff in 2012-13 after spending the previous two years at the University of Pittsburgh. Serving as UALR's pitching coach and recruiting coordinator, Rowan's first year with the team saw the Trojans capture the 2011 Sun Belt Tournament title to earn the program's first NCAA Regional appearance, thanks in large part to a pitching staff that produced some of its top performances of the season at the league championships in Monroe, La.
In Rowan's second year at UALR, junior Chance Cleveland turned in one of the finest season by a UALR pitcher in school history en route to earning First Team All-Sun Belt and Second Team ABCA All-South Central Region honors. Cleveland tied the school record for victories by going 9-4 over 14 starts, and produced the second-highest single-season strikeout total in school history by fanning 98 batters over 91.2 innings. He ended the year with a 3.93 ERA while holding opposing hitters to a .244 batting average, and was named Sun Belt Pitcher of the Week on March 26 after striking out a season-high 12 batters over 8.0 innings in a 5-3 win over Troy on March 23.
The UALR pitching staff served as the main catalyst in the team's 2011 Sun Belt Championship run, as the Trojan hurlers rose to the occasion and combined for a 3.41 ERA over the four-game conference tournament. Senior Travis Henke set the tone for the weekend by holding regular-season champion Troy to two runs and seven hits over 8.0 innings in a 4-2 victory in game one of the tournament, marking just the second time since 1995 that the lowest-ranked team had knocked off the No. 1 seed in SBC Tournament play.
Senior Calvin Drinnen followed Henke's lead by holding WKU to six hits and two runs over 6.0 innings in a 9-5 game-two victory. In the 5-3 win over Florida Atlantic in game three, senior Daniel Golden allowed two runs in 3.0 innings of work in his first action since late April, and three relievers combined to hold the Owls to two hits and one run over the final 6.0 innings. Henke came back out on short rest to start the championship game against FIU, and the Trojans got a lift from the bullpen once again as three relievers limited FIU to three hits and a run over the final 5.0 innings. Senior Garrett Graziano was named Most Outstanding Player at the SBC Tournament after going 2-0 with one save and a 1.59 ERA in three relief appearances.
A pair of pitchers on Rowan's staff received national and conference awards for their accomplishments during the 2011 season. Drinnen was named the Sun Belt Pitcher of the Week on March 15 after throwing a complete-game, two-hit shutout at then-No.2 Oklahoma, handing the Sooners their first loss of the season. Drinnen was also named to the National All-Star Lineup by the College Baseball Foundation, and was recognized as the Primetime Player of the Week by CollegeBaseball360.com. Nick Grimmet was named the Sun Belt Pitcher of the Week to open the season (Feb. 21) after leading UALR to a 6-4 victory over Stephen F. Austin by holding the Jacks to one hit over 7.2 innings in relief.
Henke, the Trojans' Friday night starter in 2011, was selected by the Washington Nationals in the 22nd round of the 2011 Major League Baseball First-Year Draft. The 6-6 right-handed pitcher made 18 appearances with 14 starts as a senior in 2011, leading the Trojans in innings pitched (90.0) and strikeouts (61).
Prior to UALR, Rowan helped guide the Panthers to a 38-18 record and a No. 3 seed in the Big East Tournament in his final season at Pittsburgh. The Panther staff saw improvement in several statistical categories, shaving nearly half a run off the team ERA, while increasing its strikeout total by 53 and lowering its opponent's batting average by 14 points. Pitt was one of just six teams in the nation to have two pitchers with at least 11 wins (along with Texas, Arizona State, Coastal Carolina, Cal State Fullerton and TCU), as its weekend starters posted a combined 26-6 record on the year.
Pitt starters Corey Baker and Matt Ianazzo became the first duo in school history to tally 11 wins in the same season and were rewarded with spots on the Big East All-Conference Team, earning First Team and Second Team honors, respectively. In addition, reliever/infielder Joe Leonard set a single-season record with eight saves and was named First Team All-Conference and Big East Player of the Year.
In his first season at Pittsburgh, Rowan's staff included pitcher Nate Reed, who was selected by the Chicago White Sox in the 20th Round of the 2009 Major League Baseball Draft.
A graduate of the University of Memphis, Rowan spent two seasons as the head coach at Crichton College in Memphis, Tenn. before moving on to Pittsburgh. While at Crichton, Rowan led the Comets to the program's first-ever berth in an NAIA Regional. The Comets advanced to the Region XI Tournament after finishing third at the Transouth Conference Tournament. His 2007 Crichton squad led the Transouth Conference in batting average (.353) and team defense (.964).
Prior to becoming head coach, Rowan spent one season as an assistant coach at Crichton. Under his guidance, the 2006 Crichton pitching staff finished among the league leaders with a 4.65 team ERA. During his time at Crichton, Rowan coached 10 All-Transouth Conference selections, one All-Region XI honoree and had three of his players go on to play professional baseball.
A three-year letterman at Memphis, Rowan led the Tigers with a 3.63 ERA in his first season with the club and ranked second in innings pitched and strikeouts. He played two seasons at Northwest Mississippi Community College prior to Memphis, where he was an MACJC All-State honoree as a pitcher and outfielder. He went 7-1 and finished seventh in the country with a 2.20 ERA in his final season with the Rangers and earned NJCAA Distinguished Academic All-America honors for his work in the classroom.
A three sports standout in high school, Rowan earned 11 letters in baseball, basketball and football at Senatobia (Miss.) High School. He was an All-Conference performer in all three sports during his high school career. As a senior, Rowan garnered All-State accolades in baseball and was selected to play in the Mississippi High School Activities Association All-Star Classic.
Rowan graduated cum laude from Memphis in 2004 with a marketing management degree. He was named to the Conference USA Commissioner's Academic Honor Roll three times, and was a member of the Golden Key National Honor Society, Phi Kappa Phi and the Tiger 3.0 Club.