The Northern Kentucky Norse baseball team chose to go with a familiar face as their new head coach on Tuesday, promoting Dizzy Peyton from his role as assistant coach to replace Todd Asalon, who retired at the conclusion of the 2021 season.
After joining NKU’s staff in 2005, Peyton has spent the last 17 years as an assistant coach for the Norse, beginning as a volunteer assistant, before becoming a full-time member of the staff for the previous 15 seasons.
“I would first like to thank God, my wife Amanda and family, Ken, Jeff [Baldwin], Dan [McIver] and all of the administration for their support and belief in me to be the third head coach in NKU baseball history,” Peyton said in a press release put out by NKU Athletics on Tuesday.
Asalon, Peyton’s predecessor, was at the helm for the Norse for 21 seasons before retiring at the end of the 2021 season.
Just the second head coach in NKU baseball history, Asalon helped guide the Norse through their transition to Division I in 2013, finishing with 564 wins during his time with NKU. Prior to NKU moving up to Division I, Asalon led the Norse to eight NCAA Division II Regional appearances from 2001-12.
Of those eight appearances in the Division II Regional Tournament, Peyton served as a member of the staff in six of them, including five consecutive appearances from 2008-12.
“I’ve had the opportunity to watch Coach Peyton grow and interact with student-athletes, fellow coaches, and staff for several years. He is highly regarded and respected as a staff member and has embraced the culture we strive to achieve at NKU,” NKU Director of Athletics Ken Bothof said in the press release.
Since Peyton joined the staff, the Norse have had ten players go on to play professional baseball, including four players that were taken in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, an annual event that allows MLB teams to choose from the best amateur players in the country to join their organization.
The most notable player that Peyton coached during his time as an assistant coach at NKU was Nate Jones, a relief pitcher who currently plays for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Jones has also spent time with the Cincinnati Reds, Chicago White Sox and Atlanta Braves.
Additionally, Peyton served as the pitcher when NKU’s Griffin Doersching won the 2019 College Home Run Derby at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska.
Prior to his coaching career, Peyton played one season for the Norse as a pitcher in 2003. In his lone season with the Norse before career-ending Tommy John Surgery, Peyton compiled 44 strikeouts, while posting a 4.44 ERA.
Peyton takes over a Norse team that has not posted a winning season since 2012, and finished 17-31 during the 2021 season.