Skyhawk Baseball | Rick Guarno - Assistant Coach
Rick Guarno is in his third season as an assistant coach at UT Martin under head coach Rick Robinson. Guarno serves as the recruiting coordinator and hitting coach for the Skyhawks.
Guarno has helped oversee a significant improvement in the UT Martin program since his arrival in 2015. The Skyhawks have accumulated 18 Ohio Valley Conference victories over the last two years, which is tied for the most OVC wins in a two-year span in school history. UT Martin has also posted its first win over a ranked opponent since 2009 (a 6-2 win over No. 15 Missouri State in 2015) while compiling the most single-season victories since 2011 (19 wins in 2016) in Guarno's tenure.
In 2016, Guarno mentored an offense that set a new school record with 231 walks drawn. UT Martin also tallied the most runs scored (340), hits (554), doubles (106) and RBI's (318) since 2010. All 11 Skyhawks who started at least 25 games hit .283 or higher.
The Skyhawk offense showed signs of explosiveness on several occasions last year. UT Martin's 20 runs against Eastern Kentucky on April 8 were the most that the Skyhawks had scored in a conference game since April 25, 2009. UT Martin also amassed 25 hits against OVC foe Murray State on March 13, which were the most in a single game since April 25, 2007.
Using Guarno's fresh hitting philosophy in 2015, the Skyhawk offense showed vast improvement. The squad launched 39 home runs (fourth-most for a single season in UT Martin history), nearly doubling their total from the previous season.
Before joining the Skyhawks, Guarno spent two years as the recruiting coordinator alongside Robinson at Young Harris College in Young Harris, Ga.
At Young Harris, Guarno coached Zach Bricknell, who was a first team All-American in 2013 after belting a school record 22 home runs, which also led the nation. Bricknell was amongst five first team all-conference selections in Guarno's final two seasons (2013-14) at Young Harris.
In that same two-year span, Guarno also oversaw one of the nation's best offenses. In 2013, the Mountain Lions led the nation in home runs per game (1.4), ranked second in home runs (66), seventh in slugging percentage (.493), 17th in scoring per game (7.6 runs), 27th in runs scored (366), 32nd in times hit by pitch (70) and 39th in doubles per game (2.0). In Guarno's final season at Young Harris, the Mountain Lions ranked fifth nationally in home runs per game (1.0), seventh in home runs (50), 18th in walks (216), 25th in scoring per game (7.1 runs), 26th in slugging percentage (.444), 31st in runs scored (353), 38th in stolen bases (84) and 45th in hits (518).
Before his stint at Young Harris, Guarno spent two seasons as the volunteer assistant coach at the University of Arkansas-Little Rock, his alma mater. He helped guide the Trojans to a 2011 Sun Belt Conference Tournament championship and the program’s first-ever NCAA Regional appearance.
In 2012, Guarno helped Arkansas-Little Rock rank in the top-10 nationally in four different offensive categories, setting program records for most home runs and triples in a single season. The Trojans ranked first in the nation in home runs per game (1.22), third in slugging percentage (.477) and sixth in scoring (7.4 runs per game). They also ranked in the top-20 nationally in on-base percentage (.395, 14th) and stolen bases per game (1.65, 20th).
Working primarily with the catchers at Arkansas-Little Rock, Guarno coached All-Sun Belt first team catchers Myles Parma, Nick Rountree and Blake Johnson. Parma hit a team-best .350 with a .439 on-base percentage in 2011 while Rountree crushed a team-high seven homers to go along with 14 doubles and 35 RBI’s in 2011. Johnson hit .314 with 14 doubles and six home runs in 2012.
Guarno began his collegiate playing career at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, where he hit .342 as a freshman to help the Retrievers advance to the 2001 NCAA Regional. The following season, he posted a .323 batting average with 10 doubles to help UMBC to a 20-7 conference record and a Northeast Conference championship game appearance.
Guarno then transferred to Arkansas-Little Rock, where he picked up All-Sun Belt first team accolades and second team ABCA Rawlings All-South Central Region honors in 2003. He started 55 games at catcher as a junior, hitting .344 with 27 doubles, 54 runs scored, 48 RBI’s and a .555 slugging percentage.
Guarno was drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the fourth round (107th overall) of the 2003 Major League Baseball Draft. He played seven seasons of professional baseball, earning a call-up to Triple-A Colorado Springs in 2008 after tallying a .290 batting average with five homers in 25 games at Double-A Tulsa. He retired from professional baseball in 2009 after winning a Golden League title with the Calgary Vipers.
A Syracuse, NY native, Guarno attended Bishop Kearney High School in Rochester, NY, where he was a two-time City-Catholic League All-Star. He ranked seventh in his graduating class and was a member of the National Honors Society.
Guarno graduated from Arkansas-Little Rock in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts. He is married to the former Amanda Harrison of Conway, Ark. and the couple has one son, Coy.
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