UAM hires first full-time baseball assistant coach

MONTICELLO — Arkansas-Monticello on Wednesday announced the hiring of its first full-time assistant baseball coach, Mark Jelks.

Jelks spent the previous two years as an assistant and recruting coordinator at Arkansas Tech. His father, Mark, coached the Pine Bluff High baseball team in the early 2000s.

“I am excited about the opportunity here at UAM given to me by Coach (John) Harvey and athletic director Chris Ratcliff,” Jelks said in a press release. “I am anxious to hit the ground running on the recruiting trail and kick off the fall season to see what we have to look forward to in 2015.”

Jelks helped Arkansas Tech earn its first NCAA tournament berth and the No. 1 seed in the Central Regional this past season. Tech finished 44-12 overall and 25-5 against Great American Conference teams.

“We are very excited to add Mark to our staff,” Harvey said in the release. “Throughout the process, his name kept coming up and after meeting with him, I felt like he was a perfect fit. He has experience with really good programs in the state at different levels. He knows exactly what we are looking for in a recruit, and I think he has proven himself with what he has done to help Arkansas Tech be so successful over the past couple of years. I believe he will help take our program to the next level.”

Jelks has coached seven MLB draft selections, five All-Americans, eight All-Region players, 16 all-conference picks, four Rawling Gold Glove winners and one Josh Willingham D2 MVP Award semifinalist in his career.

He began his coaching career in 2006 as an undergraduate at the University of the Ozarks, where he played for three years and earned a bachelor’s degree in general studies. He joined the staff at Bryant in 2008 and won three straight 7A-Central championships (2009-11), including the 2010 state title. He also was director of baseball operations at Central Arkansas.