Northeast Head Baseball Coach Marcus Clapp orchestrated one of the best seasons in junior college baseball last season in only the program's second year of existence.
Clapp guided the Hawks to the NJCAA DII Baseball World Series in Enid, Okla., finishing seventh in the country with a 37-19 overall record. The Hawks finished with three wins at the national tournament after rattling off five-straight wins in the Region XI Tournament and sweeping Miles Community College in the North Plains District Championship to earn a berth to Oklahoma.
For his efforts, Clapp was named the North Plains District Coach of the Year and the Midlands College Coach of the Year by the Omaha World-Herald.
On the field, standout second baseman Drew Smith was named the NJCAA DII Baseball Player of the Year and a First Team All-American after hitting .456 to go along with a .538 on-base percentage and an .897 slugging percentage. He tallied 18 home runs, 69 RBI and 166 total bases. Smith was also named the ICCAC DII Baseball Defensive Player of the Year, ICCAC Player of the Year, First Team All-Region and was tabbed to the NJCAA DII Baseball World Series All-Tournament Team. He ranked top-5 nationally in six offensive categories.
Under Clapp's guidance, Cam Taylor and Smith were named to the All-North Plains District Team, while Taylor, Smith and Jayden Sinju were named First Team All-Region. Alex Potter, Andrew Shaw and Christian Dumont earned Second Team All-Region, while Derek Botaletto and Bryce Walker earned Honorable Mention All-Region status. Smith and Walker were also named to the World Series All-Tournament Team.
Out of the 15 graduating sophomores, Smith, Dumont, Walker and Tanner Hunt signed with NCAA DI programs. Shaw, Donovan Warren, Cale Hlavac, Andrew Altstadt, Lane Koetter and Michael Ripa inked with NCAA DII teams, while David Richardson, Dylan Nicholson, Sebastian Rodriguez, Jackson Tingwald and Jean Santos went to four-year NAIA programs.
In the inaugural baseball season at Northeast, Clapp coached his team to an 18-38-1 record and led them to the Region XI Baseball Tournament. Four members of the Northeast baseball team earned ICCAC honors for their performance during the 2018 season, and Drew Smith was twice named ICCAC Baseball Player of the Week and NJCAA Division II Baseball Player of the Week.
Clapp previously served as the University of Nebraska-Kearney’s top assistant baseball coach and as an event manager for the Loper Athletic Department. He was the pitching coach for the Lopers, where he cultivated a solid pitching staff for the program, including developing an All-Mid America Intercollegiate Athletics Association First Team pitcher during the 2016 season. Clapp’s entire staff at UNK had a strikeout-to-walk ratio of three-to-one. In 2015, six different UNK pitchers won at least three games, and Aaron Smith earned All-MIAA honors for a 7‑2 record and three complete games. John Watson posted a team-best 2.62 ERA working as a starter and out of the bullpen. Joe Smidt became the career record holder for saves at UNK and ended his career with a 3.55 ERA.
Before his work at UNK, Clapp was an assistant baseball coach at Scottsdale Community College in Arizona for nine seasons. It was there he helped develop the Fighting Artichokes into an NJCAA Division II national power, including four trips to the NJCAA Division II World Series in 2007, 2009, 2012 and 2013. He also served as an assistant athletic director and as the interim athletic director for one year.
In his first year as the Artichokes pitching coach, the pitching staff set new school records for both ERA (3.46) and strikeouts (417). In 2007, the pitching staff reset those records with a 2.92 ERA and 519 strikeouts and sent two pitchers to the National Junior College All-Star Game. Clapp, in 2012, saw his closer record 17 saves and a nation-best 0.20 ERA. In 2013, Coach Clapp had two pitchers drafted in the third and 21st round of the MLB Draft. In addition, the staff had a First Team All-American, and six pitchers signed to four-year universities. The 2013 staff also set school records in ERA (2.43) and strikeouts (559). Eight school records were set and again broken under Clapp, and the eighth lowest team ERA in SCC history all came under Clapp.
During his tenure with SCC, 28 sophomore pitchers signed with four universities and 20 moved on to Division I baseball programs. Clapp also saw nine of his arms drafted by MLB teams. The draft picks were TJ Macy (Brewers), Brandon Pullen (Mariners), TJ Geith (Rays), Stephen Tarpley (Orioles), Scott Zuloaga and Sebastian Kessay (Astros), Bryan Sova and Josh Taylor (Phillies) and Colton Thomson (Cardinals).
Clapp pitched at SCC in 1998 and 1999 earning All-Conference honors. After pitching at Scottsdale, he continued his playing career at Louisiana Tech University in a set-up/closer role. Clapp still holds the second spot on the all-time single season appearances list at 'Tech.
Clapp started his coaching career as the Louisiana Tech Graduate Assistant Baseball Coach, where he earned his Master’s degree in Health and Exercise Science. After receiving his degree, Clapp moved to the University of Nebraska-Kearney to serve as pitching coach and lead assistant. In his first stint at UNK, three pitchers earned All-Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference honors and Clapp helped develop the 41st overall pick of the 2006 MLB Draft by the New York Yankees, Joba Chamberlain.
Coach Clapp also has coached summer league teams in the Northwoods and Coastal Plains Leagues.
Marcus was born in McCook, Nebraska, is married to Leesa, and they have three children: Wyatt, Myles and Lucy.