Sept. 22, 2011


Nine Innings with Joe Jordano

By Sean Ryan Co-Founder


Joe Jordano enters his 15th season as head coach of the Pittsburgh Panthers, and soon will lead the program into a new chapter as it becomes part of the ACC. Jordano has a record of 399-331-2 in 14 years at Pitt and is 682-449-2 in 24 years as a collegiate head coach. He has been a Coach of the Year seven times and is a member of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame. The Panthers were 33-23 this past season, finishing third in the Big East. The school set a record with six players selected in the 2011 MLB Draft.


Coach Jordano took time to answer our questions about Pitt joining the ACC.


First Inning - When did you first hear the news and what was your initial reaction?
Due to the confidentiality of the process, we were not informed until Sunday morning. I was, quite frankly, stunned. In the ever-changing landscape of college athletics, you hear speculation, but this move was so quick and decisive, I believe it caught everyone off-guard.


Second Inning - How have your current players responded?
Our current players took it in stride. At this point, nothing has changed for them. Once we have a definite timeline for when we would begin ACC play, I believe the reality of it will become more clear.


Third Inning - Has the announcement changed anything with your recruiting for this year's class?
Possibly. The current commitments we have are from high-caliber players that we believe can compete at any level. The question will be when will we become fully-funded. I am sure with how competitive our administration is, it will provide us with the necessary resources to compete in the ACC. If we are provided additional funding, our recruiting class will increase by 3 to 5 players.


Fourth Inning - How will it affect recruiting down the road? Will you still focus on the same areas? Will you recruit the same type of player?
I believe our footprint for recruiting will expand.  We have met as a staff and have put together a plan that we feel good about and we will execute that plan over the next several months.  Again, the timeline of when we begin competing in the ACC will be a big factor in how we proceed.  I feel our recruiting coordinator, Danny Lopaze and assistant coach Tom Lipari have done a great job identifying the right type of player for us.  We will obviously look to attract the best possible player we can.


Fifth Inning - How do you think it affects your scheduling and your budgets? On the surface, trips to Miami, FSU, Clemson and Georgia Tech would appear to be more costly than your current Big East trips. Does this concern you or the school?
I am confident that our leadership team took all of these factors into consideration in arriving at this decision.  It is an exciting time and we look forward to the challenge.


Sixth Inning - How does Pittsburgh compete in one of the top baseball conferences in the country?
I feel we will continue to operate the program as we have done during my career. We are committed, equally, to our academic and baseball success. I believe strongly in my staff and the systems we have in place that prepare our team for competition each year. We will have to continue identifying the right player that is committed to being the best both on and off the field. The ACC is arguably the best there is in college baseball. We will do everything we can to be prepared for the day we begin competition.


Seventh Inning - What other challenges does a move to the ACC present?
The challenges are great. You are facing great teams that are led by legendary coaches every weekend. As a club, you had better bring you’re A-game everyday or look out. As a competitive guy, how could you not want to be a part of this!


Eighth Inning - What about leaving the Big East, which has continued to strengthen as a baseball conference?
I have many great friends in the Big East and have a tremendous amount of respect for every program. As a group, we fought hard to improve the image of our league that we knew was very good. The league is in great shape right now and I am sure the conference will do what it has to do to continue well into the future. I am focused right now on preparing my team for a very tough 2012 schedule. 


Ninth Inning - What does the move to the ACC mean for Pittsburgh baseball? What does the future hold?
The ACC is a national-level conference. Each program begins its year with the goal of going to Omaha. That is intense. I am very excited to be the skipper of this program and I look forward to the challenges ahead of us. I know many of the coaches in the ACC and have enormous respect for each program in the conference and am anxious to prepare our program to compete among the best.


(photos courtesy of Pittsburgh Media Relations Office)