Simmons led Sun Belt Conference in wins in 2016
Three Texas high school prepsters and a junior college arm make up the Mavs' four-member class.
UT Arlington will rely on seven returners and nine newcomers on its pitching staff this season.
The UT Arlington junior outfielder was named the third-ranked prospect from the MINK League.
Jon Wente owns a career record of 513-224 (.696) as a college head coach.
Jon Wente joined the UT Arlington Baseball program as the pitching coach in August 2014. Wente spent 13 seasons as a head coach before coming to UT Arlington.
"We're extremely fortunate to get someone of Jon's background to recruit and work with our pitchers," UT Arlington coach Darin Thomas said. "He has shown the ability to recruit and develop players at a very high level everywhere he's been."
Wente completed his first season with the Mavericks in June 2015 and vetted a pitching staff primarily of young, freshman arms. UT Arlington’s rotation was ranked eighth in the Sun Belt with a 4.71 team ERA, but allowed the lowest amount of walks in the league. Wente assisted in the Mavericks’ three victories over ranked opponents and three shutouts during the 2015 slate, including a 12-0 win over UALR May 1.
Wente's mentorship proved valuable again in 2016, as junior pitcher Kadon Simmons was selected to the All-Sun Belt second-team. Simmons' nod makes him only the second UTA pitcher to earn all-conference honors since the program left the Southland Conference in 2012. He was a mainstay in the weekend rotation since Opening Day and led all conference pitchers with nine victories while ranking third in the SBC with 97.0 innings pitched heading into the 2016 conference championship.
Under Wente, senior right-hander Colin Tornberg was selected by the Seattle Mariners in the 32nd round of the 2015 MLB Draft in June. Tornberg led the Mavs with eight saves that season, third most by a Sun Belt player.
Wente was the head coach at Central Arizona College from 2005-14. His teams won six consecutive Region I championships (2007-12) and four consecutive conference championships (2011-14). Wente was the Region I Coach of the Year six times (2007-12), the conference Coach of the Year in 2011, and the West District Coach of the Year in 2008 and 2011.
Wente was also the head coach at Odessa College (2005) and Hutchinson College (2003-04). His overall coaching record is 513-224 (.696). He's coached 190 players that have signed with four-year colleges and 63 players that were drafted, including Major Leaguers Rich Harden, Scott Hairston, Ian Kinsler, Matt Pagnozzi, Josh Spence, Thad Weber, Mike Zagurski and AJ Schugel.
Wente also coached the 2006 USA 18u Baseball Team which won a silver medal in the World Championships in Cuba. That team included Major Leaguers Matt Harvey, Blake Beavan, Jarod Parker, Neil Ramirez, Freddie Freeman, Matt Dominguez, Mike Moustakas, Christian Colon and Tommy Medica.
Wente started his playing career at Brophy College Prep High School under Tom Succow and played at Central Arizona College for Corky Summers and Tim Fields. He earned all-conference honors as a sophomore at Central. From Central he went on to play at Arizona State University as a pitcher for Pat Murphy. Wente finished his playing career at McNeese State University where he set a school record for innings pitched in a season and was named the team MVP. After finishing his collegiate career, he played professional baseball for the Moose Jaw Diamond Dogs of the independent league.
He graduated from Arizona State University in 1998, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing. Wente is a native of Phoenix and is married to Sandra Langston. Sandra is a former standout softball player at Glendale Community College and New Mexico State. They married in 1999 and are the proud parents of Tyler Jon.
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING ABOUT WENTE …
"I have known Jon Wente since 2001, when he was on the coaching staff at Central Arizona, the junior college I attended. He was my head coach/roommate/baseball dad in the Jayhawk League in Liberal, Kansas. He was in my wedding and is still a close friend. I appreciate Jon's views on baseball and life, and he has helped me many times and in many ways throughout the time I have know him."
- Four-time MLB All-Star Ian Kinsler
"Coach Wente played a huge roll in my journey on becoming a Major League pitcher. I was fortunate enough to play for Coach Wente at Central Arizona Junior College. What separated myself from other players is that I did not grow up in America, I had lived in Australia my whole life. Playing baseball at an elite level is something I only dreamed about. Coach Wente provided a valuable stepping stone for my career in giving myself an incredible opportunity and initiating both nurturing and valuable teaching moments along the way.
"One thing that sticks in my mind is at practice leading up to my first home game, I was looking across the outfield as I was talking with Jon and jokingly said, 'I see an American flag, I see an Arizona flag ... but where is the Australian flag?'. Jon replied with, 'you're right! We need one up there', so every time I would pitch at home Coach Wente would let me fly an Australian Flag in the outfield along side the other two. As I get older that story becomes more and more meaningful to me - Coach Wente allowed me to be who I was, whilst giving me the template to not only be a successful baseball player, but person."
- Former San Diego Padres Pitcher Josh Spence
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