FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (6/28/96)
Centenary College director of athletics Russ Sharp announced Friday the hiring of Mark Linden as the new Centenary baseball coach. Linden takes over for Wayne Rathbun, who resigned on June 14.
"When we began this search for a replacement for Wayne Rathbun we wanted to go nationwide, but then concentrated regionally," said Sharp. "We wanted someone with the same type of enthusiasm that Wayne had and someone to continue the legacy of James Farrar. After receiving nearly 100 applications, we believe we have found a great individual in Mark Linden to lead our baseball program in the future."
Linden likes the challenge of taking over a program that posted a 69-89 (.437) record under Rathbun and has not had a winning season since 1993.
"The biggest challenge will be to overcome the small college image in the minds of recruits and establish a reputation of being a premier Division I baseball program," said Linden. "Having graduated from a liberal arts college and having coached at larger schools I have some ideas of how we can develop a winning program in such a unique environment. I'm excited about the challenge and working in a great city like Shreveport."
The 28-year old Linden, comes to Centenary after spending a year as an assistant coach at the University of South Carolina. Prior to his stint at South Carolina, he spent two years as a volunteer assistant coach at Wichita State University.
"Mark will bring a lot of enthusiasm and energy to the program there," said Wichita State head coach Gene Stephenson. "Having been at South Carolina and here at Wichita State he has experience in how programs should operate and work. Shreveport is an excellent city and if he proves to be successful then he can overcome some of the limited resources. Mark is not afraid of hard work and he likes a challenge. This is a great opportunity and that is the way you have to look at it then make the most of it."
"He will bring a lot of enthusiasm to the program," former South Carolina baseball coach June Raines said. "Mark loves baseball and you won't find a harder worker around. He is a good marketing guy and he knows all aspects of the game. I think they hired the right guy."
Besides his collegiate experience, Linden has also coached numerous summer league teams that consisted of college players. He has also been an instructor at many baseball camps, including the Canadian/American Baseball Academy in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
A native of Seattle, Washington, Linden earned his bachelor of arts degree from Whitworth College in Spokane, Washington. While at Whitworth he was a two-sport lettermen in both football and baseball. He was a shortstop on the Pirate baseball team and was selected as a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics All-American as a running back in football.
Linden was drafted by the Chicago Cubs and Kansas City Royals while at Bellevue Community College in Seattle. In 1989 the Cubs again drafted him, this time as a senior, in the 31st round. Linden signed with the Cubs and spent two seasons in the organization seeing time at second base and in the outfield.
Linden and his fiancé Nathalie Paterson plan on settling in Shreveport permanently after their August 4 wedding.