UM baseball coach Jim Morris gets three-year contract extension; Gino DiMare to take over after Morris retires

UM baseball coach Jim Morris will be staying on through the 2018 season.
UM baseball coach Jim Morris will be staying on through the 2018 season.
Al Diaz / Miami Herald Staff

The future of the University of Miami’s baseball program is staying in familiar hands.

The school announced Tuesday that longtime coach Jim Morris, 64, will be staying on through the 2018 season, and that longtime assistant coach Gino DiMare, who turns 45 next month, would take over when Morris retires.

Morris, who had his contract extended by three years, has been at the helm of the Hurricanes since November 1993. He led UM to its second Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season championship and a 44-19 record this past spring before the Canes were eliminated by Texas Tech in the final game of the Coral Gables Regional.

DiMare, who is entering his 16th season as an assistant and who has served as the program’s hitting coach and recruiting coordinator for a decade, said discussions over the future of the program and his place in it began after the season was over.

“It means a lot, obviously,” said DiMare, who was a standout outfielder for the Hurricanes from 1989 to ’92 and is in line to be only the second UM baseball player to serve as head coach — the first since Whitey Campbell (1958, 1960-62).

“I’m a Miami guy through and through, born right down the street at South Miami Hospital,” DiMare continued. “I went to Westminster Christian not far away and had an opportunity to play here. If I didn’t play here, there is probably a good chance I never would have coached here. Coach Morris is particular about having Miami guys and continuing the same philosophy, keeping things in the family. I’m all for that. I love Miami.”

Morris has led UM to 21 of its NCAA-record 42 consecutive postseason appearances, including 11 trips to the College World Series. But Miami hasn’t been to Omaha, Nebraska, for the CWS since 2008, the season after which DiMare stepped down to spend more time with his wife and four daughters.

He returned to UM in 2012. Last October, UM landed the sixth-best recruiting class in the country, according to Baseball America, including freshman All-Americans Zack Collins, a catcher who was named the ACC’s Freshman of the Year, and Bryan Garcia, a relief pitcher who earned 15 saves.

In a statement released by the school, Morris said he felt humbled and honored to serve four more years.

“We have had an outstanding run, but there is more work to be done and more championships to be won,” Morris said. “I want to thank [UM president Donna Shalala] and [athletic director] Blake James for their belief in what we are doing, and I am excited for Gino to get this opportunity.”

Said James: “We are ecstatic that Coach Morris has agreed to remain at the helm through the 2018 season. What Jim has built at Miami is unprecedented, and the success speaks for itself. This extension is well-earned.”

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