Former Rice baseball letterman Patrick Hallmark (Brown College) is in his eighth year of coaching at his alma mater.
Hallmark has already assisted the program in a variety of roles under head coach Wayne Graham but he is taking on a new responsibility in 2013. A longtime catcher who worked with a host of different types of professional pitchers at the minor league level, Hallmark will serve as the Owls' pitching coach this season.
Hallmark had previously coached the Owl hitters, but he also trained the catchers and worked on the defensive skills and positioning of the outfielders. He coached at third base on game days last season.
When the task of recruiting was added to his list of responsibilities Hallmark hit the ground running. The former Owl has identified the top prospects from around the region and across the nation who could not only play at the elite level that Rice baseball has reached, but also thrive in the University's challenging academic curriculum. In addition to a host of prep accolades for the signees, two of Hallmark's current class were drafted by the major leagues but chose to enroll at Rice.
By carrying out coach Graham's directives, Hallmark helped the Owls rank among the Conference USA leaders in hits, doubles and runs scored in 2012. Last season Rice outscored its opponents by more than 140 total runs and averaged a steady 5.6 runs per game. With 106 doubles Hallmark's hitters showed they could hit for extra bases, but the players also had the skill from his daily training to lead the league in sacrifices and disciplined-enough to draw 279 walks in 60 games.
Offense is only part of the story. On defense, Hallmark's outfielders are well-coached, consistently put in the right spot, and reach a defensive-potential they might never even knew they had. Last season Rice outfielders threw-out an eye-opening 14 opposing runners who were attempting to reach an extra base.
When the Major League Draft was held in the summer of 2012, a Rice catcher (Craig Manuel) and outfielder (Jeremy Rathjen) that Hallmark had trained were selected by their respective organizations in either an earlier round or for the first time in their career.
A former catcher for coach Graham, Hallmark started 56 games in 1995 to help lead Rice to its first 40-win season in 11 years. In that second-to-last season of the Southwest Conference, he batted .354 against the league with a .430 slugging percentage, 57 runs, and 14 stolen bases in 16 attempts.
Hallmark was selected by Kansas City in the 18th round of the 1995 major league draft and played professionally for nine seasons. He reached the AAA level in the Royals' organization. Hallmark was part of three consecutive championship teams in the minor leagues from 1997-99.
Playing primarily as a catcher and outfielder, Hallmark hit over .300 three times and stole 30-plus bases five times in his pro playing career. He twice stole more than 40 bases (2000 and 2002) and was selected to play in two minor league all-star games.
Hallmark continued to pursue his Rice degree in the off-seasons and earned it in human performance in 2002. He played his final pro season in 2003 and began his coaching career. He worked one season at nearby Saint Thomas High School before returning home to Rice.
A Houston native, Hallmark was a two-time all-district honoree in baseball in 1991 and 1992 at Westbury High School. He went on to earn all-conference honors at Alvin Community College in 1993 and 1994. He was named to the all-Southwest Conference team in 1995.
Hallmark is married to the former Jada Sanders of Kingwood, a 2001 Rice graduate (Sid Richardson) and four-year letterwinner who set school records for the Owls' swim team. Jada served five seasons as an assistant swim coach at Rice. Both Hallmarks coached their respective Owl teams to C-USA Championships in the spring of 2011. The couple have three children, Christian (7), Tanner (5) and Grayson (3).