JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Bringing a wealth of knowledge and commitment to the game, Tommy Santiago was named assistant coach of Jacksonville University Softball, as announced Monday by Dolphin head coach Erica Ayers.
"I could not be more pleased that Tommy has chosen to join our program," stated Ayers. "He has been a great colleague, resource, and friend for many years and I have no doubt that he will have a major impact on our future successes. Tommy will take the lead with the hitters and infielders and play a major role in recruiting. He's a high character, charismatic guy and great skill developer."
With nearly a decade of experience coaching softball at the Division I level, Santiago previously made stops at Florida State, St. John's (NY), Maryland, and South Florida before joining the Dolphins. Most recently, he served as a hitting and fielding instructor at Crossfit Lutz in Tampa, Fla. for the past two years.
"I'm very grateful and humbled to be part of the Jacksonville University softball program. I want to thank Coach E and [Athletic Director] Alex Ricker-Gilbert for the opportunity. I'm looking forward to working with Erica and learning from her and what she brings to the game," added Santiago.
"[Coach Ayers] is a great mentor for these student-athletes to look up to and I'm honored to be on her staff. I'm also looking forward to meeting the team and getting to know them as people and can't wait to start working with them."
For the 2015-16 season, he served as an assistant coach at South Florida. With Santiago on staff, the Bulls posted a 45-16 record and were crowned the 2016 American Athletic Conference Tournament Champions. Additionally, the coaching staff was named the 2016 AAC Coaching Staff of the Year and 2016 NFCA Regional Coaching Staff of the Year.
Prior to his time in Tampa, Santiago served as an assistant coach at Maryland in 2014-15. That season, the Terrapins finished .500 with notable wins over Princeton, Iowa, Ohio State, Michigan State, and a sweep of Penn State.
As an assistant coach at St. John's (NY) from 2011 to 2014, Santiago helped guide the Red Storm to 88 wins and a pair of Big East Tournament appearances, including the semifinals in 2012 and the championship game two years later.
No stranger to northern Florida, Santiago served as assistant coach, camp director, and hitting coordinator for three years at Florida State from 2008-2011. During his time in Tallahassee, the Seminoles made three straight appearances in the ACC Tournament Championship, and were crowned ACC Champions in 2011.
Santiago previously served as the Tournament Director for the Louisville Slugger Desert Classic Tournament at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas from 2005 to 2007 before venturing into the softball coaching ranks in 2007 as an assistant coach at South Suburban Junior College in South Holland, Illinois.
Upon graduation from Campbellsville University, Santiago got his first taste of coaching as the varsity baseball coach at Homewood-Flossmoor High School and Bloom High School in Flossmoor, Illinois. There, he guided 22 prospective student-athletes in attaining collegiate scholarships to Division I, II, II, NAIA, and NJCAA schools around the country. Also during that time, he served as a hitting and fielding instructor at Diamond Sports Academy in nearby Mokena, Illinois.
Santiago received his associate's degree in physical education from Parkland College in 2000, then earned his bachelor's degree in exercise science and sports medicine from Campbellsville in 2003.
A two-time All-Conference selection during his four years as a collegiate baseball player, Santiago also played five years of semiprofessional baseball in the Chicago Suburban League and one year of professional ball with the River City Rascals in the Frontier League.