Art Inabinet, 54, is entering his 20th season as head baseball coach at Francis Marion University and his 22nd year overall at the university. He owns a 598-378-2 coaching mark at FMU, and a career coaching record of 682-432-2 in 22 seasons at the four-year collegiate level.
In nine of his 19 seasons as head coach, the Patriots have won 30 games, and seven times FMU has earned invitations to the NCAA Division II national tournament. Nine times during his tenure the Patriots have appeared in the final Top 30 national poll at the conclusion of the season, and between the 2005 season and the 2013 campaign, the Patriots appeared in 127 of the 153 national polls. Twelve Francis Marion players have been chosen in the Major League Baseball draft over the past 16 years, and a handful are currently playing professionally.
The St. Matthews, S.C., native served as a Patriot assistant for two seasons (1999-2000) before succeeding long-time head coach Gerald Griffin as the second head coach in the program's history. The Patriots posted a combined 37-48 record during Inabinet's two years as Griffin's assistant.
This past season (2019), FMU posted a 28-21 mark.
FMU Season Highlights
- In 2017, he guided FMU to a program-best 10-0 start to the season.
- In 2015, FMU ranked seventh nationally in scoring, averaging 8.5 runs per contest and 10th in strikeouts per nine innings (8.9).
- FMU posted 40-win campaigns in 2012, 2011, and 2010.
- In 2012, Francis Marion finished with a 40-18 record and made a fourth straight appearance in the NCAA Division II Tournament – where the Patriots reached the regional title game for the third consecutive season. The Patriots tied for second during the PBC regular season, reached the semifinals of the PBC Tournament, and were ranked seventh nationally in the final Top 25 poll. In the final NCAA stats, the Patriots ranked among the Top 20 in three statistical categories: fifth in total hits (658), ninth in fewest walks allowed per nine innings (2.68), and 13th in sacrifice bunts (59).
- In 2011, Francis Marion equaled the school record for wins with a 41-16 mark, won the Peach Belt Conference regular-season crown, received its third consecutive NCAA Tournament bid, and reached the regional title game for the second year in a row. The Patriots ranked ninth in the final 2011 Collegiate Baseball Newspaper NCAA Division II Top 30 poll, the third such end-of-the-season Top 10 ranking in school history (and the second year in a row). In addition to Inabinet earning PBC Coach of the Year honors, FMU also achieved a conference first by garnering Player of the Year, Pitcher of the Year, and Freshman of the Year awards. Nationally, the Patriots ranked among the Top 20 in ten statistical categories: second in sacrifice flies (40), third in sacrifice bunts (75), fourth in hits (629) and hit-by-pitches (93), fifth in fewest walks allowed per nine innings (2.41), 11th in fielding percentage (0.971), 14th in fewest hits allowed per nine innings (7.65), 15th in earned run average (2.83), 16th in triples (20), and 17th in runs scored (407).
- In 2010, FMU was 40-14, the second-most wins in team history, and the Patriots tied for the PBC’s East Division crown. For the first time, FMU was selected to host the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional Tournament where the Patriots placed second. Francis Marion ended the year ranked 10th in the final Top 30 poll. At the conclusion of the season, the Patriots were ranked among the Top 20 nationally in six statistical categories, including eighth in sacrifice bunts (56), 13th in earned run average (3.67) and fewest hits allowed per nine innings (8.63), 14th in won-loss percentage (.741), 15th in fielding percentage (.967), and 20th in players being hit-by-pitches (83).
- In 2009, FMU posted a 38-15-1 record, finished second during the PBC regular season, won the PBC Tournament title, and earned its fourth national tournament bid in the past seven years, placing third at the regional. The Patriots were ranked 14th in the final Top 30 poll.
- In 2008, FMU went 34-20, tied for third in the PBC regular-season standings, and ended the year ranked 27th.
- The 2007 Patriot team was 36-18, placed third during the PBC regular season, and ended the year ranked 29th.
- In 2006, Inabinet directed the Patriots to a program-best 41-18 record, a No.6 national ranking, and the program's first-ever trip to the NCAA Division II College World Series. The Patriots were ranked as high as third in the national poll during the 2006 campaign and spent seven weeks in the Top 10. FMU placed second in the Peach Belt regular-season standings. Following the 2006 season, Inabinet was selected as the ABCA/Diamond Sports Company Coach of the Year for the South Atlantic Region.
- In 2005, he led FMU to a 34-16-1 record, a No. 14 national ranking, and an NCAA post-season invitation. Ten of the 16 losses were to nationally ranked opponents. FMU's team ERA of 3.11 was the lowest for a Patriot staff since 1980 and ranked eighth in NCAA II. The Patriots placed third in the PBC standings.
- In 2004, Inabinet guided the Patriots to a 29-17 record and a fifth-place finish during the PBC regular season. FMU won 10 of its final 11 contests and spent six weeks in the Division II Top 30 poll, including one week at No. 7, the program's then highest ranking ever. The team's ERA of 3.47 led the PBC and ranked 11th nationally.
- In 2003, he directed FMU to a 30-20 mark, a No. 18 national ranking, and a third-place finish at the NCAA's South Atlantic Regional. Picked to finish eighth in the PBC preseason coaches' poll, the Patriots finished third in the PBC with an 18-10 mark, only one-half game away from winning the program's first-ever conference title. The 18 conference wins were a team record.
Prior to joining the FMU staff in 1999, he served as head coach at North Greenville College for six seasons, recording a 155-122 mark (84-54 as a 4-year institution). He guided the Mounties program from junior college status to a four-year program in 1996. After making that transition, North Greenville was 14-21 in 1996, 34-17 in 1997, and 36-16 in 1998, including a pair of second-place finishes in the Mid-South Conference his last two years. In 1995, Inabinet was named the Louisville Slugger "Coach of the Year" for the NJCAA Region X, as the Mounties posted a 31-22 record and won the region title.
Inabinet earned both the B.S. degree in history and the M.A.T. degree in secondary education (social sciences) from Winthrop University. As an undergraduate student, he was a four-year letterman on the Eagle baseball team. Following his playing career, he served as a graduate assistant coach at Winthrop from 1989 to 1991. He also was the head baseball coach at The Catawba School for one year (1992).
Inabinet is director of the annual FMU Baseball Camp held during the summer. He is married to the former Kimberly Reese, and the couple has a son, Reese. His Patriot squads have taken part in the award-winning "Dads in the Dugout" community service program.
Inabinet's year-by-year record at FMU
*Advanced to NCAA II Tournament
** Advanced to NCAA II College World Series