July 9, 2009


O'Connor Named CBI Coach of the Year


After winning the school’s first regional and super regional crowns, Virginia skipper Brian O’Connor (left) has been named national Coach of the Year by CollegeBaseballInsider.com.


O’Connor was selected from a group of five finalists, which included Steve Peterson of Middle Tennessee, John Anderson of Minnesota, Mike Gillespie of UC Irvine and Jim Schlossnagle of TCU.


Virginia finished sixth in the ACC regular-season race, but started its postseason run by defeating Clemson, North Carolina, Duke and Florida to claim the ACC tourney title. The Cavaliers headed west to the Irvine Regional, where they bested Stephen Strasburg of San Diego State and twice beat top-ranked UC Irvine to win their first regional championship. Virginia took two of three at Ole Miss to win the Oxford Super Regional and earn its first trip to the College World Series. The Cavs lost to eventual national champion LSU in the first round and defeated Cal State Fullerton in an elimination game before falling to Arkansas in extra innings.


In his sixth season at Virginia, O’Connor guided the team to a 49-15-1 overall record, 10 more wins that a season ago. The Cavaliers were 16-11-1 in ACC play. UVa was not ranked in any of the national preseason poll.


“As in the previous seven seasons, there were many outstanding candidates for Coach of the Year,” said Phil Stanton, co-founder of CollegeBaseballInsider.com. “Virginia was not a preseason favorite in the ACC, let alone nationally. But Brian O’Connor had the Cavaliers playing their best at the end of the season to make their first trip to Omaha. We congratulate Coach O’Connor and his staff for a tremendous job.”


Peterson bounced back from heart surgery in the off-season to lead the Blue Raiders to a 44-18 mark, an increase of 17 wins over 2008. MTSU won a share of the Sun Belt regular-season crown and captured the tourney title to advance to the NCAA Tournament. Anderson saw the Golden Gophers go 40-19, a 20-game improvement in the win column. Anderson earned his 1,000th career victory and led Minnesota to a second-place finish in the Big Ten at 17-6. The Gophers earned an at-large bid to the NCAA tourney.


Gillespie had the Anteaters at the top of the national polls at the end of the regular season. UCI won the Big West with a 22-2 conference mark. The Anteaters were a national seed in the NCAA Tournament and finished with a record of 45-15. Schlossnagle had the Horned Frogs one game away from Omaha. TCU stretched Texas to the limit at the Austin Super Regional before falling in the third game. The Frogs finished 40-18 overall, 15-5 in the Mountain West.


Honorable mentions go to Paul Mainieri of LSU, 2008 CBI Co-Coach of the Year, Corky Palmer of Southern Miss, Dave Van Horn of Arkansas, Mike Fox of North Carolina, Larry Lee of Cal Poly, Jim Foster of Rhode Island and Lindsay Meggs of Indiana State.


(photo by Jimmy Jones)