Virginia Tech introduced new baseball head coach John Szefc to the media on Thursday afternoon. Tech’s new skipper has a rebuilding job in front of him, but his coaching career thus far indicates that he has the ability to take on such a task.
Here’s a sampling of some of Szefc’s accomplishments…
- 392-259-3 record as a head coach in five seasons at Maryland and seven seasons at Marist.
- Seven NCAA Tournament appearances as a head coach – three at Maryland and four at Marist.
- Advanced to back-to-back Super Regionals in 2014 and 2015.
- Only coach in Maryland history to post five consecutive 30-win seasons.
- 11 total NCAA Tournament appearances as a head coach and an assistant.
- Coached 97 players who have signed pro contracts in the last 20 years, including 25 at Maryland.
- Coached 23 All-Americans, including 10 at Maryland.
As usual, Whit Babcock went for an experienced winner, and he opened up the checkbook to get him. The Hokies will pay Szefc more than they’ve ever paid a baseball coach.
2017: $400,000 (prorated for the rest of the year)
See this article for complete contract details.
The average salary for head baseball coaches at public ACC schools is $518,000, so the Hokies are now much more competitive in the salary field than they have been in the past.
“We wanted our next head coach to have ACC or state of Virginia roots ideally,” Babcock said. “We wanted them to have the ability to succeed at the power five level and compete at the elite level of college baseball and that’s what the ACC is. We wanted our coach to be able to successfully recruit the Mid-Atlantic and the East coast.”
Szefc checks those boxes. He was the head coach at Maryland when the Terps were still in the ACC, and he has experience winning games at Power 5 programs. He also has extensive experience recruiting the Mid-Atlantic and the East coast.
Virginia is a very good state for baseball, with many Major and Minor League players currently hailing from the Commonwealth. However, only one current Major League player from Virginia played for Virginia Tech: Oakland’s Chad Pinder. Szefc plans to use his experience and his proven winning ways to attract more in-state talent to Blacksburg.
“There are a lot of things to sell to a recruit at Virginia Tech,” Szefc said. “The backgrounds of the coaching staff that we will put together will create value. I’ll bring in my past (in conversations with recruits) to create credibility. A lot of Virginia athletes want to come here to play and we’re in a position to confirm these reasons for them and get them to come here.”
Szefc will take over a program that finished no better than 27-27 over the past four seasons. With a six-season contract, Babcock is obviously giving him time. He’s in the process of putting together a coaching staff, and they will immediately begin recruiting.
Opinions on Szefc
Kevin Anderson, Director of Athletics, University of Maryland
“John did a tremendous job taking Maryland baseball to new heights. The foundation John laid helped put Maryland on the college baseball map. He created a winning culture that we could all be proud of. Because of this success, including consecutive NCAA Regional championships and a school record 42 wins in 2015, Maryland has placed itself among the top destinations in college baseball … We wish John and his family the very best.”
Rob Childress, Head Baseball Coach, Texas A&M University
“John Szefc is one of the best coaches in America. I have known John for quite some time and each and every one of his teams from Marist to Louisiana Lafayette to Kansas State to Kansas to Maryland have always played with an edge. He will no doubt make Virginia Tech a winner in a short period of time.”
Kendall Rogers, National Writer/Editor for D1Baseball
“John is a really nice get for Virginia Tech Baseball. (He’s) had success at Maryland, reached Super Regionals. (It’s a) nice change of pace at Tech. Virginia Tech is a step up. The AD there, Whit Babcock, is building a brand new stadium (and) more money (is) being filtered into baseball.”
Tony Robichaux, Head Baseball Coach, University of Louisiana
“I’m very excited to hear John Szefc has become the next head coach at Virginia Tech. Obviously, he has had an outstanding career so far helping guide each program he’s been with to the NCAA tournament. He’s a wonderful husband and father, and brings a great knowledge of the game to the program. John is one of the best in the country when it comes to hitting and recruiting. The future of the Virginia Tech baseball program is in good hands under his leadership.”
Tim Corbin, Head Baseball Coach, Vanderbilt University
“John is one of the best teachers and coaches in the college game. I have tremendous respect for him as a person and his way of mentoring student-athletes at this level. He will be a fine addition to the entire Virginia Tech system as a whole.”
Brad Bates, former Boston College AD (current VP, consulting at Collegiate Sports Associates)
“John Szefc is a man of great integrity, competitiveness, loyalty and commitment. He genuinely cares about his students – past, present and future – and will maximize their development intellectually, athletically and as leaders. Whit and his staff have made an exceptional hire and Virginia Tech will benefit from John’s leadership for many years to come.”
Dan Radakovich, Director of Athletics, Clemson University
“John is truly one of the outstanding coaches and people in college baseball. It is awesome that he is returning to the ACC.”