|Year of Graduation:||1984-1988|
A chance meeting with Pat Murphy, Maryville College’s 1983 Head Baseball coach, while this 2010 Wall of Fame inductee was looking at future schools brought this Austintown, Ohio native to Tennessee
As a freshman in the spring of 1984, Eric Etchison began to make an immediate impact for the Fighting Scots. As the starting catcher for the team, he thrived throughout the season by having a fielding percentage of .935 while throwing out 17 potential base stealers. As a hitter under first year Head Coach Skip Sawyer he excelled as well where he maintained a .359 average and won the Scots batting title and was named MC’s Most Valuable Player by his peers.
In 1985, Coach Bobby Saylor took over as the leader of the team. Etchison made some changes also when he decided to transfer for the fall semester to Brevard Community College in Melbourne, FL. In the following spring semester, Etchison returned to the orange and garnet to continue his baseball career due to an in-game injury with Brevard that left him with torn ligaments in his right thumb. Etchison then continued his pursuit of excellence, playing catcher, where he increased his fielding percentage to .954, which included throwing out 19 runners who attempted to steal a base. Etchison was named the Ken Stinnett Award recipient for his effort during his sophomore campaign.
With newly acquired Coach Joe Dodd watching from the dugout, Etchison exploded into a superior season in his junior year with the Scots. In 34 games during the season the catcher from Austintown, Ohio accumulated a .465 batting average while leading the team in doubles (8), hits (47), RBI (30) and on base percentage (.553). Etchison was named 2nd team all-conference for the Old Dominion Athletic Conference, team most valuable player for the second time, and went down in the Maryville College record books for most hits in a single season which lasted for over 10 seasons.
As the 1987 season began the sky was the limit for Etchison as he entered his senior season, looking to add on to an already stellar career for the Fighting Scots. However, in a pre-season game against Hiwassee Etchison’s season was ended early due to a collision during the game where a player’s helmet collided with his thigh, leaving him out of the season.
The next season, Etchison’s career was almost ended once again due to a hook-slide play during an October practice where he broke his right ankle. However, with the help and hard work of the training staff led by Sharon Wood, his career was up and running again when the season opened for the 1988 spring. Under the direction of John Dunlap and Ronnie Ramsey, Etchison turned his senior year into a magnificent cap on his long career. Through his senior season, he was near perfection behind the plate where in 152 chances he only committed 3 errors (.980 fielding percentage). The offensive aspect came alive as well, where he finished with a .405 average while pacing the Scots in home runs, on-base percentage, and slugged an amazing .709. The senior catcher earned 2nd team All-ODAC honors again as well as his third team MVP accolade.
Upon graduation, Etchison worked in Municipal Recreation, Taught and Coached, but his experience with Hall of Fame manager Earl Weaver and the Gold Coast Suns prompted him to return to graduate school and pursue a career in collegiate coaching.
Etchison made his mark with Maryville College on February 27, 1993, only this time as a coach. He claimed his first victory with a 5-2 win over Ohio Northern. Nearly four years later his 100th victory was completed, reaching the feat faster than any coach in the history of the baseball program. Throughout his fourteen year career as Maryville’s baseball coach, Etchison has more 20 wins seasons than any other baseball coach in the school’s 134-year history, where he won roughly 54% of his games coached. He is the only coach in the Great South to date to win back-to-back league championships. His teams still hold nine single season school records including most wins in a season by his 1995 squad.
Coach Etchison has served NCAA Division III Baseball as its National Chair and has been recognized as the ABCA’s 1997 Coach of the Year as well as being named the recipient of the 2008-2009 Sharon A. Murphy Crane Distinguished Service Award from the College.
Coach Lambert, who gave Eric his opportunity to coach after watching him grow through his MC career stated, “You could tell in his early years as a student-athlete at MC that Etch was destined to do great things. His perfectionist attitude was demonstrated as a player, coach, and now administrator…Etch is definitely an unsung hero, our college would not be where we are today without his numerous contributions.”
Ladies and Gentlemen, since 1876 for over 134 years MC has displayed excellence on the baseball diamond. I proudly present the 51st Scots baseball player to be inducted into the Maryville College Wall of Fame, Eric Etchison.