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The Cougars are betting on one of their own.

BYU announced Mike Littlewood as its new baseball coach today, hoping to revive the program after 13 middling seasons under Vance Law. A former All-WAC third baseman, Littlewood played for BYU from 1985-88 and most recently coached at Dixie State College in St. George. He emerged as one of the leading candidates when Law, whose teams went 397-347-2, didn't receive a contract renewal in May.

Little spent the past 16 years compiling the winningest record (563-238; .702) in Dixie State history. Along the way, his teams appeared in the National Junior College World Series four times, reaching the final in 2001 and taking the championship in 2004. He was named JUCO Coach of the Year for that title campaign.

"He is passionate about baseball and his enthusiasm is contagious," said athletic director Tom Holmoe in a press release. "Mike has been very successful at every level of coaching and we look forward to having him guide our baseball program."

Before coaching at Dixie State, Littlewood helmed Alta High School in Salt Lake City the Zion Pioneerzz, a now-defunct minor-league team in St. George. He has also officiated NCAA basketball for 16 years, including three NCAA Sweet 16 and two Elite 8 appearances ­— a pursuit that will likely end as his Division I coaching duties begin.

"I am very excited to return to BYU and coach the baseball program. I love teaching the game of baseball and have been preparing for this opportunity for a long time," Littlewood said in the press release. "As a former player I realize the unique opportunities BYU has to offer. I look forward to recruiting quality student-athletes, engaging former players in the program, and returning BYU baseball to national prominence."

Some pro experience runs in his family as well. Littlewood spent a season in the Milwaukee Brewers organization after being drafted in the 27th round in 1988. Two years ago, the Seattle Mariners selected his son Marcus out of Pineview High in the second round with the 67th overall pick.

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