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MLB Pitcher Nate Jones Returns to NKU Baseball as Director of Player Development

Nate Jones, a product of Pendleton Co. High School whose baseball career took him from Falmouth to Northern Kentucky University and then to Major League Baseball, is returning to the Norse program.

NKU announced Tuesday that Jones will join the baseball team staff as director of player development.

He was a pitcher for the Norse from 2005-2007 before being drafted in the fifth round of the Major League Baseball draft by the Chicago White Sox.

Dizzy Peyton, head baseball coach, announces that Nate Jones is joining the Northern Kentucky staff as the team’s director of player development. Jones was a standout on the mound for Northern Kentucky prior to a 14-year professional pitching career that included nearly a decade in the majors.

He made his debut in the majors for the White Sox in 2012 and was with the team through the 2019 season. Jones spent the 2020 season with the Cincinnati Reds and split this 2021 season between the Atlanta Braves and the Los Angeles Dodgers. He took the mound for the last time, for the Dodgers, in June.

“While I’m sad to see Nate’s Major League career come to an end, I couldn’t be more excited for Nate, his wife Lacy, and their kids (Archer, Lilly, Emmie Lou and Oakley) to come back home to their Norse family,” said NKU head baseball coach Dizzy Peyton. “Nate has been a great friend to me and an amazing supporter of the baseball program throughout my career at NKU. He’s represented Northern Kentucky in a first-class manner at the highest level of baseball for almost 10 years in the MLB, and he also represented our Nation in the World Baseball Classic in 2017. He pitched in high leverage situations in his role with every team he was on. His experience and knowledge of the game, as well as his character and the way he carries himself, will help develop and guide our guys on and off the field. We believe in surrounding ourselves with good people, and we couldn’t have found a better guy to help build our baseball program.”

“I’m thankful and excited for this journey ahead,” Jones said. “I’m thankful for my time spent at NKU as a student athlete, the lessons I learned along the way and how it helped me build the foundation needed in order to succeed at my career of being a Major League Baseball player. I’m excited about the direction and vision the baseball program is heading under new head coach Dizzy Peyton. So, when the opportunity arose to become the director of player development, I was more than willing to join the staff.  With over 14 years of professional baseball experience, including 9.5 years at the Major League level, I feel like I have knowledge that I want to share to make others the best versions of themselves possible. Like I said I’m thankful for everything NKU has given me, and now it’s time to give back.”

At NKU, Jones made sixteen appearances in his final season, posting a 2.88 earned run average (ERA) with two complete games and one shutout. He recorded two saves, struck out sixty batters in 56.1 innings, and held opponents to just a .185 batting average.

He is a member of the Northern Kentucky David Lee Holt Hall of Fame after being inducted in 2019.

In the majors, Jones made 325 appearances with a 3.45 career ERA and 355 strikeouts.

-Staff report

Photo: via Flickr by Keith Allison