His .769 winning percentage is the second best in the Gulf South Conference. The Muleriders have also spent 24 weeks at number one in the nation over the past three seasons.
"I've thought about this job for 20 years, how great a situation this could be," said Gum. "I knew this was a great place. We want to make a difference, and a lot of people at this university are difference makers."
Gum led SAU to a 47-10 record in 2010, winning the Gulf South Conference-West Division, as well as being the top seed of the NCAA II South Regional. He had four players taken in the Major League Baseball Draft, including the No. 16 overall pick, and had two more sign professional contracts.
"We were fortunate to have great interest in our baseball job," said Dr. Brad Teague, UCA director of athletics. "Our committee narrowed the list to four finalists, all of whom were excellent choices. Coach Gum was selected from this vast pool due to his extreme success as a head collegiate baseball coach and his demonstrated plan for success at UCA.
"Coach Gum is very much about family; his own family, his baseball family, and the university family. This concern and caring for the student-athlete and the baseball program will translate into positive outcomes for UCA."
Teague interviewed numerous candidates to replace Doug Clark, but said Gum was the most impressive.
"Coach Gum has an intense work ethic, is a true professional, and carries himself and his program with the utmost class. We are thankful he wanted to be a Bear and look forward to many successful years under his leadership."
Gum's 2009 squad was ranked No. 1 for much of the season and at 52-11, finished with the most wins in school history and advanced to the semi-finals of the NCAA Division II South Region tournament, which the Muleriders hosted by virtue of being the top seed in the region. Advancing to the Gulf South Conference tournament for the 11th consecutive year, the club captured SAU's second league championship with a 5-0 sweep in the tourney, and also claimed its first-ever share of a GSC West Division title. Despite not being one of the final eight teams to advance to the College World Series, Southern Arkansas still finished the season ranked fourth.
Gum's first year (2006) at the helm of the Muleriders proved to be quite a successful one as he led the team to a 40-18 overall record and the program's first-ever GSC championship. SAU advanced to the South Central Region tournament, making it to the semi-finals before their season ended as the 18th-ranked team in the country.
In 2007, Gum's squad concluded their first-ever back-to-back 40-win seasons as members of the NCAA when the team finished 41-17 and again made the conference tournament field. The following year, Southern Arkansas finished 46-12 and reached a No. 1 national ranking for the first time in the history of the program. They made their 10th straight league tournament and moved on to the semi-finals of the South Central regional, ending the season ranked 12th.
A native of Bentonville, Gum played collegiate baseball at Crowder Community College (now Crowder College) in Neosho, Mo., before playing two years at Southern Arkansas for Coach Steve Goodheart, who retired in 2003 after coaching the Muleriders for 23 years. Gum is a member of the Crowder College Baseball Hall of Fame.
In 1990, Gum led SAU in hitting as a junior outfielder with a .338 average and fielded .975 as Southern Arkansas won the Arkansas Intercollegiate Conference (AIC) championship with a 20-4 record and finished the season 27-23 overall. As a senior, Gum hit .328 and fielded .961 while helping the Muleriders win their sixth consecutive AIC championship with a 20-4 record and an overall record of 44-15-1. The 1991 team also won the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Area 5 Tournament by defeating the nation's number-one ranked team, North Florida, in the championship game, to advance to the NAIA World Series in Lewiston, Idaho. Gum was honored with the Charles Berry Hustle Award at the World Series.
Prior to returning to SAU, Gum served as assistant baseball coach at Sheridan High School for six years, before moving to Batesville as the head baseball coach in 2000. Batesville had a 75-25 record in his three years with the Pioneers, and was the Class AAAA runner-up in 2002 and 2003. Gum served two seasons (2004-2005) as an assistant coach for Southern Arkansas before assuming the head coaching duties.
Gum is married to the former Shenna Calloway of Strong, and they have two sons, Tyler and Calloway.