By Brian Ramsey
OBU Sports Information
ARKADELPHIA — Ouachita Baptist University Head Baseball Coach Luke Howard has announced changes to his coaching staff following the departure of assistant coach Charles Bradley.
Bradley, who was Ouachita’s hitting coach and recruiting coordinator, recently accepted the head coaching position at Southwest Baptist University, an NCAA Division II program located in Bolivar, Missouri.
Howard only had to look a few doors away to fill the vacancy, promoting Dave Brown, who recently completed his second season as Ouachita’s pitching coach. Brown will continue to manage the pitching staff, and will now assume the role of recruiting coordinator. To complete the staff, Howard has also announced the hiring of Beau Burson as assistant coach. Burson recently completing his playing career at Ouachita, lettering the past three seasons with the Tigers.
“We are excited for Coach Bradley to land a head coaching opportunity,” said Howard. “While he will be missed, it is bittersweet to be able to give Dave Brown the opportunity to be our recruiting coordinator. His loyalty and hard work make him more than deserving to move into this position.”
During his tenure at Ouachita, Brown has coached three All-Great American Conference pitchers, including two-time all-conference starter Cooper Timmons, while also helping the Tigers stay in the five of 10 different pitching categories in the GAC.
Brown has also coached at Mercer County Community College and High Point-Thomasville of the Coastal Plain League. He is a 2018 graduate of Kutztown University, where he struck out 50 batters in 59 career innings, and homered in his only career at bat.
“We are also excited for Beau to make the transition from player to coach and rejoin our program,” said Howard. “Beau was a captain for us this past season, and this transition will be a smooth one for him and our program.”
Burson made 36 career appearances over the past three seasons, including 28 starts with 11 wins to his credit and a 4-0 record in the 2021 season. He earned GAC Pitcher of the Week honors in April of 2022 after tossing a complete-game shutout in a series-clinching win over Arkansas-Monticello at home. He totaled 11 of his 54 career strikeouts in that game.
Burson graduated from Ouachita this past May with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology and sport administration. He is originally from Smackover, Arkansas, where he was a two-time all-state selection and a four-time all-conference honoree for the Buckaroos. He played two seasons at Three Rivers Community College before transferring to Ouachita.
Brown and Burson have been key parts of Ouachita’s recent success, culminating with an historic season in 2022. This past year, the Tigers posted its first 30-plus win season in 10 years, set a new school record in conference wins, and qualified for the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2008.
“It was important for me to keep the culture we have built the last four years intact,” said Howard. “With the promotion of Coach Brown and the addition of Beau Burson, I believe we did just that.”