O'Connor Named CBI Coach of the
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
(photo by Jimmy Jones)