Former Southeast Missouri hitting coach Dillon Lawson is reuniting with new Missouri coach Steve Bieser.
Lawson — who since January had been the hitting coach at Class A Tri-City, a short-season minor-league affiliate of the Astros based in New York — announced he’d join the Tigers’ staff Thursday on Twitter.
“Last night was my final game with the Tri-City ValleyCats and the Houston Astros,” Lawson said in a post announcing his decision. “I have accepted the hitting coach position at the University of Missouri! While it was a very difficult decision, I am extremely lucky to know that I couldn’t have gone wrong being an Astro or a Tiger.”
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Kansas City Star
Lawson spent three seasons at Southeast Missouri as hitting coach on Bieser’s staff.
During his second season in 2014, the Redhawks finished ninth in the nation with a .306 batting average and were one of 13 teams to score 400 runs or more, ranking eighth in the country averaging 7.2 runs per game.
In 2015, Lawson’s final season with Southeast Missouri, the team ranked third in runs per game (8.0), 12th with a .303 average and sixth in slugging percentage (.477).
The Astros’ minor-league hitting coordinator, Jeff Albert, had high praise for Lawson, dubbing him “the best hitting coach in college baseball.”
Missouri released details of new baseball coach Steve Bieser’s five-year contract, which runs through the 2021 season and includes a mutual option for an additional two years.
Bieser will receive a base salary of $210,000 plus annual non-salary compensation of $90,000 and an additional $25,000 per year in deferred compensation, which will be paid upon completion of the contract term.
There also are incentives built into Bieser’s contract, including a $25,000 raise for all remaining years on the contract if Mizzou reaches an NCAA Tournament super regional.
If the Tigers reach the College World Series, Bieser receives a $50,000 raise for the duration of his contract.
Bieser’s contract also calls for performance incentives based on the team’s APR, on-field performance, national ranking and coaching awards.
He also receives the usual fringe benefits — a university vehicle, spousal travel reimbursement, country club membership, complimentary tickets, relocation expenses and transitional housing accommodations.
Bieser’s contract also includes a 100-percent buyout, where he owes Missouri the balance of his remaining contract if he leaves for another college or major-league position before July 31, 2019.
It drops to 50 percent before July 31, 2020, and $50,000 before July 31, 2021.