Janish, a former major leaguer and member of Rice’s 2003 National Champion team, completed his first year as an Owls assistant coach last season. Barton joins Rice from Louisiana Tech, where he served as the Bulldogs’ pitching coach and was named the 2018 Conference USA Assistant Baseball Coach of the Year. Bragga had enthusiastic praise for his new staff.
“I'm so excited to have Paul and Cory on the Rice baseball coaching staff,” said coach Bragga. “Both are hard-working with a love of the game. They will help us win championships.”
“Cory Barton came highly recommended from so many baseball people that I know and respect,” Bragga said. “Each one of them raved about his ability to relate to young players, get the most out of everyone he is around, and about his amazing qualities as a human being. He is a competitor who has developed championship-caliber pitching staffs at each place he has coached. He will make an immediate impact on our program, and I am excited to have him and his family joining the Rice team.”
Last year at Louisiana Tech, Barton guided one of the top pitching staffs in the nation to earn the Assistant Coach of the Year award. Not only did La Tech lead the league and finish 25th in the nation with a 3.48 ERA, the pitching staff posted C-USA’s second-best strikeouts-to-walks ratio (2.77-to-1) that was 15th among all Division I programs. The Bulldogs were 31st in the nation in WHIP (1.29), tied for second in the conference with four shutouts and maintained a steady .253 opponents’ batting average. Prior to La Tech Barton served three years as an assistant coach/recruiting coordinator at McNeese State where he helped lead the Cowboys to the 2017 Southland Conference regular season title. The Trussville, Ala., native is a 2007 graduate of Memphis who also spent five seasons as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Louisiana Monroe.
“I cannot describe how excited Robin, Cooper and I are to be joining the Rice Baseball family,” Barton said. “I have seen first-hand as a player and a coach what this program can be, and I am thrilled to work alongside Coach Bragga and Coach Janish to make Rice Baseball the best program it can possibly be. When you take into account the city of Houston, Reckling Park and getting an education from one of the best universities in the United States, there are very few places who can offer what we can at Rice. My family and I can’t wait to get started!”
In Janish’s coaching debut in 2018 his work with a new and young Rice infield helped the players earn a host of individual accolades. Janish trained shortstop Ford Proctor into becoming a third-round pick in last month’s Major League Draft. After Rice rookie second baseman Trei Cruz worked with Janish for the first time Cruz was named a freshman All-American. The Owls’ new third baseman, Braden Comeaux, became one of the must-have players in this summer’s prestigious Cape Cod League.
“This is where Paul belongs,” Bragga said of Janish. “My interview with him was supposed to last one hour, but it lasted almost six hours as the conversation about Rice, baseball and family made time fly. He worked hard to make himself a major leaguer, and he will work just as hard to be the best coach he can become. I am so thrilled to have his whole Rice-family on board.”
“I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to continue coaching at Rice as we embark on a new chapter of our program,” Janish said. “I am thankful to have had a part in the program’s rich history, and I look forward to being part of its future. Rice University changed my life, and I want to be a part of positively influencing our current and future players in a similar fashion. I’ll always be thankful to Coach Graham for the opportunities he afforded me as both a player and coach, and I am also very excited to be part of coach Bragga’s staff. We are intent on returning to Omaha and continuing the legacy of Rice Baseball."