HEAD COACH ALLEN GUM
Allen Gum brought a successful track record to the Central Arkansas baseball program in June 2010, and in just three short years, has brought that same winning tradition to the Bears’ program, putting it on the regional and national map.
Under Gum’s leadership, UCA has won 91 games over the past three seasons, culminating in a record-setting 2013 season that saw the Bears accomplish things that had never been done before at UCA. The 2013 edition of the Bears won a school-record 42 games and reached the NCAA Regionals for the first time since moving to Division I in 2007. The real story is the route they took to get there.
The Bears entered the Southland Conference Tournament as the seventh seed, a team that finished just 12-15 in conference play during the regular season. After losing their opening game, Gum’s Bears reeled off five straight elimination-game victories, eventually taking the SLC Tournament championship with a 4-0 win over Southeastern Louisiana.
That title earned the Bears a trip back to Starkville, Miss., for the NCAA Regional. Once there, the Bears defeated two conference champions in Mercer (Atlantic Sun) and South Alabama (Sun Belt) and knocked off host Mississippi State to become the only team at the Starkville Regional to defeat every opponent. UCA, which had taken a series 2-1 from the Bulldogs during the regular season, ultimately lost in a winner-take-all championship game at historic Dudy Noble Field. The Bulldogs would eventually finish as national runnerup to UCLA at the College World Series.
UCA’s three victories (3-3 overall for the year) over the Bulldogs were MSU’s only non-SEC losses of the season until the College World Series championship series against UCLA. In all, the Bears won eight consecutive elimination games between the SLC Tournament and Starkville Regional.
For the first time in history, UCA had three players selected in the 2014 Major League Baseball Draft. Forrestt Allday, Jonathan Davis and Jeffery Enloe were all drafted and played in their respective minor league systems last summer. Allday, the Most Valuable Player of the SLC Tournanent, was named a first-team All-American by Rawlings/American Baseball Coaches Association, making him the first NCAA Division I All-American for the program.
Gum came to UCA from a highly successful five-year stint at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia.Gum compiled a 226-68 record in five seasons at the SAU helm and recorded five consecutive 40-plus win seasons. His .769 winning percentage is the second best in the Gulf South Conference. The Muleriders have also spent 24 weeks at number one in the nation over the past three seasons.
Gum led SAU to a 47-10 record in 2010, winning the Gulf South Conference-West Division, as well as being the top seed of the NCAA II South Regional. He had four players taken in the Major League Baseball Draft, including the No. 16 overall pick, and had two more sign professional contracts.
Gum’s 2009 squad was ranked No. 1 for much of the season and at 52-11, finished with the most wins in school history and advanced to the semi-finals of the NCAA Division II South Region tournament, which the Muleriders hosted by virtue of being the top seed in the region. Advancing to the Gulf South Conference tournament for the 11th consecutive year, the club captured SAU’s second league championship with a 5-0 sweep in the tourney, and also claimed its first-ever share of a GSC West Division title. Despite not being one of the final eight teams to advance to the College World Series, Southern Arkansas still finished the season ranked fourth.
Gum’s first year (2006) at the helm of the Muleriders proved to be quite a successful one as he led the team to a 40-18 overall record and the program’s first-ever GSC championship. SAU advanced to the South Central Region tournament, making it to the semi-finals before their season ended as the 18th-ranked team in the country.
In 2007, Gum’s squad concluded their first-ever back-to-back 40-win seasons as members of the NCAA when the team finished 41-17 and again made the conference tournament field. The following year, Southern Arkansas finished 46-12 and reached a No. 1 national ranking for the first time in the history of the program. They made their 10th straight league tournament and moved on to the semi-finals of the South Central regional, ending the season ranked 12th.
A native of Bentonville, Gum played collegiate baseball at Crowder Community College (now Crowder College) in Neosho, Mo., before playing two years at Southern Arkansas for Coach Steve Goodheart, who retired in 2003 after coaching the Muleriders for 23 years. Gum is a member of the Crowder College Baseball Hall of Fame.
In 1990, Gum led SAU in hitting as a junior outfielder with a .338 average and fielded .975 as Southern Arkansas won the Arkansas Intercollegiate Conference (AIC) championship with a 20-4 record and finished the season 27-23 overall. As a senior, Gum hit .328 and fielded .961 while helping the Muleriders win their sixth consecutive AIC championship with a 20-4 record and an overall record of 44-15-1. The 1991 team also won the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Area 5 Tournament by defeating the nation’s number-one ranked team, North Florida, in the championship game, to advance to the NAIA World Series in Lewiston, Idaho. Gum was honored with the Charles Berry Hustle Award at the World Series.
Prior to returning to SAU, Gum served as assistant baseball coach at Sheridan High School for six years, before moving to Batesville as the head baseball coach in 2000. Batesville had a 75-25 record in his three years with the Pioneers, and was the Class AAAA runner-up in 2002 and 2003. Gum served two seasons (2004-2005) as an assistant coach for Southern Arkansas before assuming the head coaching duties.
Gum is married to the former Shenna Calloway of Strong, and they have two sons, Tyler and Calloway.