FARGO, N.D. (GoBison.com) – Tyler Oakes has been named the head coach for the North Dakota State baseball team, Director of Athletics Matt Larsen announced Tuesday, June 22. Oakes replaces Tod Brown, who was named the head coach at New Mexico on June 17.
Oakes, who joined the Bison as pitching coach prior to the 2014 season, becomes the 22nd head coach in program history. He was appointed as the recruiting coordinator for the Bison in the summer of 2016, and elevated to associate head coach in the summer of 2018. With Oakes on staff, the Bison have won a pair of Summit League Tournament Championships and advanced to NCAA Regionals in 2014 and 2021.
During his time as pitching coach, 11 Bison pitchers have earned All-Summit League honors, including three first team selections. The Bison pitching staff has had 15 Summit League Pitchers of the Week over the last eight years.
Oakes worked with Bison closer Parker Harm, who became the first Bison to earn ABCA All-American honors in 2021. NDSU pitchers Max Loven (2019) and Cade Feeney (2021) were both named to the Collegiate Baseball News Freshmen All-America Team under Oakes. Harm also earned ABCA All-Central Region First Team honors this year. Loven was also named the 2019 Summit League Newcomer of the Year.
Under Oakes, the Bison pitchers have recorded seven of the top 10 strikeout totals in school history. Oakes’ staff first broke the record in 2015 with 371 and has pushed that record to 474 this past season. The top five single-season totals have all come under Oakes. This past year, the Bison pitchers also set team school records in wins (42), saves (27) and innings pitched (522.1).
Oakes has also worked with three pitchers that have gone on to sign professional contracts, including Jay Flaa who was drafted in the sixth round of the 2015 MLB Draft by the Baltimore Orioles. Flaa made his MLB debut this spring and is currently in the Atlanta Braves organization. Luke Lind signed a minor league deal with the Los Angeles Angels in 2017, while Kevin Folman signed a minor league deal with the Chicago White Sox in 2018 and again in 2021.
Oakes was a graduate assistant pitching coach at South Dakota State in 2010 and 2011 before spending two years as a volunteer assistant at Minnesota. He was a three-time Academic All-Big Ten performer from 2006-09 at Minnesota, where he pitched in the starting rotation as a sophomore and worked out of the bullpen for three seasons. Oakes graduated from Minnesota in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in sports management and received his master’s degree in health, physical education and recreation from South Dakota State in 2012.
Oakes signed with the Tampa Bay Rays as an undrafted free agent and played one season with the Princeton Rays of the Appalachian League.