COLUMBIA, Mo. – Mizzou Baseball head coach Steve Bieser has rounded out his staff, adding Dillon Lawson as a volunteer assistant, Joe Migliaccio as a graduate assistant and Brian McRae as a student assistant, announced Thursday (July 28). In addition, Bieser has retained Evan Pratte as director of operations, Scott Bird as director of baseball strength and conditioning, and Brett Peel as a graduate assistant.
“I am extremely excited about this staff and how it all came together,” Bieser said. “We have a mix of rising stars to go along with seasoned veterans. I feel this staff complements each other very well and will give our players everything they need to succeed and develop as both a person and player.”
Lawson will serve as Mizzou’s hitting coach and is coming off of a successful stint as the Houston Astros’ Class A affiliate hitting coach. He was the hitting coach for two Ohio Valley Conference Champion teams at Southeast Missouri from 2013-15 for Bieser.
Lawson was a key contributor to Southeast Missouri’s success under Bieser as he mentored an offense that ranked among the league’s best over his three seasons. During his second season with the Redhawks, the offense ranked ninth in the nation in batting and eighth in the nation in runs per game (7.2). Only eight teams in the nation scored more runs than SEMO that season. His offense also swiped the 10th-most bases in the nation in 2014 with 97 total steals.
His Redhawk offense was even better in 2015, ranking third in the nation in scoring, fifth in runs, sixth in on-base percentage and seventh in home runs. His team also drew the third-most walks in the nation that season and ranked 12th nationally with a .303 team average and in hits. Southeast Missouri averaged 8.0 runs per game and slugged 66 total homers.
His contributions to the Redhawk offense caught the eye of the Houston Astros, who hired Lawson away from SEMO in January of 2016 and he has served as club’s Class A affiliate in Tri-City (New York), a position he has held until taking the job on Bieser’s staff at Mizzou.
Lawson, a Louisville, Kentucky native, is a 2007 graduate of Transylvania University with a degree in Exercise Science. Lawson was a four-year starter for the Pioneers earning All-Conference honors as a junior and senior.
Lawson received his master’s degree in education with an emphasis in strength and conditioning from Lindenwood in 2008. He and his wife, Amanda, welcomed son, Asa “Ace” Dash, on April 29, 2014.
McRae will join the program as a student assistant as he will finish his undergraduate degree after a 10-year career in Major League Baseball, including stints with the Kansas City Royals, Chicago Cubs, New York Mets, Colorado Rockies and Toronto Blue Jays. In his nine years as a professional, McRae hit .261 with 103 home runs and 532 RBIs. He also stole 196 bases, including a career-high 37 with the Cubs in 1996. His best offensive season came in 1998 when he led the Mets in doubles, triples and steals while slugging 21 homers, 79 RBI and 80 walks, all career-bests. It was his first 20-homer, 20-steal season in the majors.
McRae is the son of former Major League All-Star and former Kansas City Royals manager Hal McRae. He was born in Bradenton, Fla., before moving to Blue Springs, Mo., where he was an All-State honoree in both baseball and football. He was selected in the first round of the 1985 MLB draft (17th overall) and bypassed a football scholarship at Kansas. He made his major league debut five years later in 1990 as the team’s center fielder, replacing an injured Bo Jackson.
Brian then played for his father, Hal, as he took over managing duties in 1991. It was just the fourth instance of a player being managed by his father in MLB history. Brian went on to play until 1999 with his final game coming in a Blue Jays uniform in 1999.
He then spent time as an analyst for WGN-TV and did five years working radio for MLB.com and appeared on ESPN’s Baseball Tonight as well.
Migliaccio comes to Mizzou after serving as Bieser’s volunteer assistant at Southeast Missouri last season, working on the defensive development of position players and assisting with the offense. Before Southeast Missouri, he was at Siena, where he guided the team to its third-best fielding percentage in program history in 2015. He implemented new catching a defensive development programs while at Siena. In 2015, the infield completed conference games with a .981 fielding percentage, committing only eight errors, which was an improvement from .958 (21 errors) in 2014.
Migliaccio played college baseball at FIU and Parkland College before transferring to Oral Roberts to finish his degree, graduating with Cum Laude distinction with a degree in recreation administration and a minor in humanities while playing shortstop for the Golden Eagles.
Pratte just finished his 19th season with Mizzou Baseball in 2016, his sixth as director of operations. Serving as the director of operations, Pratte is still heavily involved in the success of the program. He handles a variety of responsibilities that ensure that the student-athletes at Mizzou get one of the best experiences possible while playing collegiate baseball. From arranging travel to handling a wide variety of daily activities, Pratte’s contributions help the entire team and coaching staff succeed. He also brings with him a wealth of baseball experience after spending years as a player and coach.
Bird has been director of baseball strength & conditioning since 2014. He has over 25 years of proven success in the field of Strength and Conditioning, has worked with a variety of men’s and women’s sports at some of the country’s highest ranked universities. Bird has coached 37 All-Americans, seven conference players of the year and has had 55 players go on to play professional baseball, as well as numerous others go on to play professionally in their respective sport. At Kansas State Bird was part of the baseball program that had the three best win totals in the programs history including a school record 43 wins in 2009. In the 6 years at K-State the program had 22 players drafted in the MLB draft and six of those were drafted in the top 10 rounds.
Peel played at Mizzou for the 2014 and 2015 seasons, and will serve as a graduate manager for Bieser after coaching as a student assistant in 2016. Peel was Mizzou’s starting second baseman in 2015 and was one of the emotional leaders of the team, serving as captain. Peel started 57 games in 2015, leading off in 46 of those contests while hitting .257 with a team-high 40 runs, which were the most by a Tiger since 2012. He also stole 22 bases on the season, which ranked fifth in the SEC and tops on the team. His 22 steals rank as the fourth-most in a single season at Mizzou. Peel also just missed etching his name atop the school record list as he reached base in 30 consecutive games in 2015, falling just two short of the school record.