The 2018 college baseball season is history but Columbus State University head coach Greg Appleton continues to collect the hardware. After taking the Cougars to the brink of the NCAA Division II national championship, he has been named Southeast Regional Coach of the Year by the American Baseball Coaches Association.
The winningest coach in the history of CSU baseball, Appleton guided the Cougars to a 48-15 record in 2018, taking home the Southeast Region title and a national runner-up finish. The 48 victories were tied for the second-most in program history.
Columbus State finished third in the Peach Belt Conference regular season before being seeded fourth in the NCAA Southeast Regional. The Cougars won their first two games of the tournament before suffering their first loss. CSU stormed back with three consecutive victories to capture their first regional championship since 2007.
In the Division II World Series, Columbus State downed its first two opponents to get within one game of playing for the national championship. Following a setback in game three, the Cougars rallied for a win over Florida Southern. That put them in the title game where they ultimately fell to Augustana.
Over 21 seasons with CSU, Appleton has a record of 772-410, ranking among the top 25 active Division II coaches in wins and winning percentage. His overall record is 899-484. The 2018 postseason run was the 11th NCAA Tournament appearance and third national title contest of Appleton’s tenure.
Appleton led Columbus State to its first ever National Championship in 2002 as the Cougars finished the year with a 48-15 record. In the Division II World Series, the Cougars fell in the opener to Central Missouri but rebounded to win five straight, including three in their final at-bat. CSU defeated Cal State-Chico 5-3 in the championship game to bring the title home to Georgia. He was named National Coach of the Year.
In 2007, the Cougars set a new school record for victories with a 51-19 mark as Appleton led CSU to the national championship game before falling to Tampa. Columbus State had another outstanding season in 2011 as the Cougars won the PBC’s West Division. The Cougars finished 32-19 and advanced to the Southeast Regional for the second consecutive season. He was the 2007 South Atlantic Region Coach of the Year.
The Cougars returned to postseason play in 2014 posting a 40-17 mark and reaching the NCAA Southeast Region finals. Appleton coached seven All-PBC players, the most in program history, and recorded the school’s 10th 40-win season. During the year, Appleton recorded a milestone victory recording his 600th career Cougar victory against Francis Marion on March 21. The program also won its 1,500th game during the 2014 season.
CSU put together one of its best seasons under Appleton’s watch in 2016. The Cougars won both the PBC regular season and tournament championships and hosted the NCAA Southeast Regional.
The Cougars featured arguably the country’s top offense leading the nation in runs and hits, while ranking in the top 10 nationally in runs per game, home runs and slugging percentage.
Before arriving at Columbus State, Appleton restarted the Young Harris baseball program in 1994 leading the Mountain Lions to a 127-74 mark in four seasons. Prior to his stint at Young Harris, Appleton was an assistant coach at the University of Georgia from 1987-92.
He was the pitching coach as Bulldogs won the 1990 NCAA National Championship. He also helped the Bulldogs to the 1987 Southeastern Conference crown and a trip to Omaha for the NCAA College World Series.
Appleton was a graduate assistant coach for UGA for three seasons and played for the Bulldogs from 1981-84. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education as well as a Masters of Education in Sports Management, both from UGA.
Born in Chicago but a lifelong resident of Atlanta, Appleton is married to the former Anne Ferrell of Snellville, Ga. The Appleton’s have a daughter, Kaylee.