By Dan Carr/Assistant AD for Media Relations
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Vice President for Advancement and Athletics Dr. Kevin Wilson announced on Thursday (June 1) that Grant Reynolds will be the new head baseball coach at Lincoln University. Wilson additionally announced that Sammy Samuels has been selected to coach the men’s soccer team and Leah Stringer will be the first-ever head coach of the LU women’s soccer team.
“I am excited to welcome Grant, his wife Erin, and their daughters Hannah, Eleanor, Madelyn, and Claire; Sammy, his wife Theresa, and their son, Mali; and Leah all to the Ambush!” Wilson said. “They all bring different experiences to the table, but share one thing in common: a deep desire to promote student success on the field, in the community and in life. I look forward to seeing them lead our respective programs against our GLVC and HBCU peers as well as the rest of the country!”
Reynolds helped develop one of the best offensive baseball programs in NCAA Division II during his time as an assistant coach at Albany State, as he recruited a lineup that finished this past season sixth in the country in batting average, second in on-base percentage and second in scoring output per game. ASU finished this past season 38-11 overall and 30-2 in conference play en route to qualifying for the Black College World Series.
While the batting at Albany State was outstanding with Reynolds on the staff, the pitching was even better, posting NCAA Division II’s fourth-best ERA and hits allowed per nine innings average in 2021, and the country’s 14th-lowest ERA in 2020. In 2019, ASU’s pitchers combined to lead the SIAC in ERA while the Rams won the regular season championship with a 21-1 conference record. During Reynolds’ five seasons on the staff, Albany State posted a combined record of 122-64.
Reynolds, a member of the Oakland Athletics’ minor league affiliates from 2003-05, formerly served as the head coach of Ohio Christian, an NAIA program, and has served stints as an assistant coach at Wheaton and Davenport. Reynolds graduated from Kennesaw State in 2003 with a degree in health and physical education, and later earned master’s degrees in coaching and exercise science and coaching and athletic administration from Concordia-Irvine. As a player at Kennesaw State, Reynolds was twice named the Peach Belt Pitcher of the Year and earned multiple All-American and Academic All-American honors.
“I am incredibly thankful that President Moseley, Dr. Wilson and the search committee have entrusted me with the future of the Blue Tigers Baseball program,” Reynolds said. “I know there is much excitement around Jefferson City and with the alumni about the return of baseball to Lincoln University, and I look forward to finding athletes that will fit the school’s core values and our baseball program.
“I am forever grateful to Coach Hemmings and Albany State University for allowing me to get back into college coaching. I am looking to build a program that will hopefully mirror some of our success at ASU. My family and I look forward to moving to Jefferson City and starting this new chapter of Blue Tiger Baseball.”
Samuels served as the head coach at the University of Maine at Fort Kent from 2018-23, and led the Bengals to the 2022 United State Collegiate Athletics Association national championship. Samuels also directed UMFK to national runner-up performances in 2019 and 2021 as well as the national semifinals in 2018. Samuels directed the Bengals to a 53-12-8 record and coached 13 All-American first team selections, 28 All-Academic honorees and 14 players chosen for the national all-tournament team.
Before being elevated to the position of head coach, Samuels joined UMFK as an assistant coach in 2014 and helped the program win USCAA national championships in both 2015 and 2016. During his other two seasons on the coaching staff in 2014 and 2017, the Bengals finished as the national runners-up. As an assistant coach, Samuels helped lead the Bengals to a pair of undefeated seasons and 85 total victories.
Samuels played collegiately at the University of Maine at Fort Kent and was enshrined in the school’s hall of fame in 2016. Samuels was a four-time All-Academic performer for the Bengals and led UMFK to a national championship in 2010. Samuels earned a bachelor’s degree in business management with a minor in coach in 2011, and also earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from UMFK in 2012. Samuels then served as a graduate assistant at Union (Ky.), where he earned a master’s degree in education leadership in 2014. In 2022, Samuels earned an MBA from the University of Maine.
“I want to thank athletic director Dr. Kevin Wilson and president Dr. John Moseley for trusting me to lead the Lincoln University men’s soccer program,” Samuels said. “This is an exciting new chapter as we pioneer the program through academics, athletics and community initiatives. With hard work, confidence and consistency, I believe the soccer program will prepare our student-athletes for life long after they’ve graduated from Lincoln.”
Stringer is no stranger to Missouri or NCAA Division II, as she has been on the coaching staff at Missouri Western since joining the program as an assistant coach in 2020. Stringer helped lead the Griffons to their highest national ranking in program history, as they peaked at No. 13 in the nation in 2021. She also helped MWSU improve its winning percentage from .306 in the fall of 2019 to .708 in the spring of 2021. Stringer, who served as the interim head coach of MWSU in 2022, has developed six All-MIAA players, coached three MIAA All-Tournament selections, and mentored 47 athletes who have been named to the MIAA Academic Honor Roll or who have earned one of the league’s Academic Excellence or Scholar Athlete awards.
Before coming to Missouri, Stringer spent three seasons as the assistant men’s and women’s soccer coach at Northeast Texas Community College, helping both teams achieve their highest-ever national rankings. Stringer coached the only two goalkeepers in school history ever to earn all-region accolades, and she developed 19 total all-region performers. Stringer was a member of the 2018 National Junior College Athletics Association’s South Regional Division I Staff of the Year.
Stringer broke into the coaching ranks as the goalkeeper coach for the Manchester Soccer Club United ’96 Boys team from 2011-14, and she also interned with the McPherson Strikers in 2011. Stringer was a goalkeeper at Central Christian College of Kansas, graduating in 2011 with a degree in sports management. She later earned a master’s degree from Texas Woman’s University in 2018.
“I want to thank president Dr. John Moseley, vice president Dr. Kevin Wilson, the search committee and all the wonderful people I met on my visit to Jefferson City,” Stringer said. “It’s exciting and humbling for me to be the first Head Women’s Soccer Coach at Lincoln University of Missouri. When I arrived on campus and met the administration, as well as the members of the Blue Tiger Athletics Club, I knew this was where I wanted to be.”
Both of Lincoln’s soccer programs will begin competing as members of the Great Lakes Valley Conference in the fall of 2024. The Blue Tiger baseball team will play its first season as a member of the GLVC in the spring of 2025.
What people nationally are saying about…
“There is no doubt that Lincoln University got this hire right. Coach Reynolds has been an unbelievable pitching coach and recruiting coordinator for our program since the fall of 2018. He was not only an unbelievable player, but he took that same talent and knowledge and did an amazing job in developing several high-level arms. He has an infectious personality and the players love being around him and playing for him. I truly believe his genuine personality led to a lot of top end players coming to our program. Lincoln is very fortunate to have Coach Reynolds as he will take our same model and put his own spin and style on his program to create a winning culture. Coach Reynolds is a tireless worker on the recruiting trail and does a great job of creating a well-rounded team that can compete at a high level. I am sad to see Coach Reynolds leave our program, but I am extremely proud of him and wish him and his family nothing but the best.” – Scot Hemmings, Head Baseball Coach at Albany State University
“Grant Reynolds is a great baseball coach with a great baseball mind. I was fortunate enough to have Grant coach high school baseball with me. When it comes to knowledge of the game, professionalism and the ability to teach things in a way players understand, there is no one better! He helped recruit for our club program while coaching 18u, and he knows what it takes to be successful.” – Cary Daniel, President/Founder of CBC Marucci Blackhawks and Varsity Baseball Head Coach at Indian Hill High School
“Grant was a gifted pitcher and outstanding teammate while we played together. Since then, he has become a talented coach and recruiting coordinator, leading his programs to new heights. He has been a lifelong friend and colleague in the coaching world. He has been an amazing father and husband to his beautiful family. Grant will be a great leader for the Lincoln baseball team and the athletics department.” – Josh Beauregard, Head Baseball Coach at Eckard College
“Coach Samuels has proven himself as one of the top up-and-coming soccer coaches in U.S. college soccer. Samuels’s on-field success as a head coach is unquestionable, and he has demonstrated himself as a masterful recruiter of talent both domestically and internationally. Lincoln University is fortunate to have a coach of Samuels’ caliber who will be devoted and invest significantly in its student-athletes, support Lincoln University’s overall mission, and be an active member of the community of Jefferson City.” – Bill Ashby, Former Athletic Director at the University of Maine at Fort Kent
“There are not enough words to wholeheartedly describe Coach Samuels. His unique talent for motivating individuals has profoundly impacted my personal and professional life, as well as many others. He is an exceptional leader who embodies the qualities of resilience, compassion, and unwavering determination, leaving a lasting impression. Sammy’s ability to overcome challenges in pursuit of excellence makes him an invaluable asset to any institution. He has achieved remarkable results that many deem impossible, and I am certain there are more remarkable results to come. He is truly a role model, not just to his student-athletes but to anyone he encounters. I am immensely grateful to have met Sammy, and I look forward to seeing the amazing things he will achieve in this new chapter.” – Alex Smith, Head Men’s Soccer Coach at Concord University
“Coach Sammy is a great hire. His ability to recruit, coach, and mentor student-athletes is of the highest quality, and he has the winning mentality that every program desires. Bringing Coach Samuels to Lincoln undoubtedly sets up the men’s soccer program to succeed nationally.” – Jonathan Shaw, Head Men’s Soccer Coach at Union College
“Leah is a passionate, detail-oriented leader. She is positive, supportive, respectful, genuine, and sincerely caring about the lives of her players. I cannot think of a better person to lay the foundation for the Lincoln University of Missouri’s women’s soccer program.” – Damian Macias, Associate Head Women’s Soccer Coach at the University of North Dakota
“Leah is a bright young and up-and-coming coach. She is an ambitious and caring leader who has the heart and determination to help lead Lincoln University of Missouri as a new program. There is no question that she will be a great ambassador for both the institution and her student-athletes.” – Cole Ouren, Assistant Women’s Soccer Coach at Baylor University
“Leah is a fantastic coach with a tremendous passion for the game. She works tirelessly on and off the field to help her student-athletes be better players and better people. She is also a fantastic recruiter that will grow the game at Lincoln. She will build a culture and foundation for the program to achieve long-lasting, sustainable success.” – Daniel Hill, Head Women’s Soccer Coach at Seminole State College