ABILENE, Texas – McMurry University Vice President for Student Affairs and Intercollegiate Athletics Sam Ferguson did not have to look very far to find the next head coach of the War Hawks baseball program, officially naming Josh Lee to the position Thursday.

A former standout at McMurry and household name in the Texas baseball community, Lee becomes the third head coach since the program returned to competition in 1996. He follows his former skippers, Lee Driggers and John Byington – who stepped down after the 2022 campaign following 24 seasons.

“Coach Lee has strong McMurry ties, he has incredible knowledge of the game and he is a community builder that our team absolutely loves,” said Ferguson. “There is no one who deserves this position more and we are excited to have him lead our program. Coach Lee’s vision is to produce young men of character, while also achieving academic excellence and competing at a high level. He’s committed to Developing Champions for Life and we are all excited to see our program continue its positive trend under his leadership. We are blessed to call Josh Lee our head baseball coach.”

Lee played at McMurry from 2001-04 and holds the distinction of being McMurry’s only two-time American Southwest Conference Player of the Year, winning the award in the 2003 and 2004 seasons. He was a standout pitcher and a power hitting first baseman, helping his team to conference titles in 2001 and 2004.

He later embarked on a minor league career with the Detroit Tigers before returning to the collegiate ranks as an assistant coach at Southwestern and UTSA. Lee also had prior stints at McMurry in 2006, 2008 and 2009, helping the program win its fourth conference championship in 2008.

All roads eventually led back to Walt Driggers Field on August 2, 2019, as Lee rejoined the program as Byington’s assistant for three seasons. Lee said that the decision to come back was a “no brainer” for him and his family.

Now, he moves down the hall to the head coaching chair.

“To say I am excited is truly an understatement,” said Lee. “McMurry Baseball means so much to me and my family, and I am extremely honored to become the next head coach. As a player, I invested so much time and effort to help build a culture and expectation of what me and my teammates all felt McMurry Baseball stood for. As a coach, I tried to instill work ethic and passion in a daily routine to help our scholar-athletes not only achieve the on-field success, but learn life lessons that will help them grow as men. I am truly blessed to have this opportunity to help guide our program to greater heights and create a serious excitement about McMurry Baseball.”

Following the 2022 season, Lee served on the ASC Co-Coaching Staff of the Year and helped guide the War Hawks to the single-best turnaround season in program history with 15-win improvement. The team finished 24-18 overall and 17-13 in the ASC to finish fourth in the league – despite being picked last in the preseason.

Lee said his goal for the program is to keep that momentum rolling.

“I want our athletes to be excited about being a part of such a great University with such a rich history,” Lee said. “We will have standards to play and win at the highest of levels. We will have a lead-from-the-front mentality, while helping build men with the highest of character and providing an exceptional experience for all our scholar-athletes.”

In 2021, Lee was inducted into McMurry’s Hall of Honor. As a player, he was the ASC Freshman of the Year in 2001, a two-time ASC Player of the Year in 2003 and 2004, a second team All-American in 2004, a four-time all-conference selection and ranks among the career leaders at McMurry in hits, games played, homers, RBI, total bases, slugging, walks, victories, games started, innings pitched, strikeouts and ERA. He owns the school record with 17 complete games.

Apart from his collegiate coaching career, Lee founded the Texas Angels in 2011 and left his position with UTSA to focus on the project full time. Even though Lee returned to collegiate coaching in 2019, the Texas Angels continue to position players at the next level.

Lee was born in Roseville, California and raised in Abilene. The Cooper High School graduate is married to Stacy Lee and the couple has one daughter, Ava, and a son on the way, Pierce.

There are many people Lee wanted to thank for this opportunity, including his family, various coaches such as Byington, Driggers, Jason Marshall and Sherman Corbett, the baseball program’s alumni and the McMurry community.