Gators Name Baseball Coach

The University of Florida and Athletics Director Jeremy Foley announced Kevin O'Sullivan as its new baseball coach Thursday morning at a news conference.

O'Sullivan arrives in Gator Country after serving nine seasons as the pitching coach and recruiting coordinator at Clemson, where he helped the Tigers to nine-straight NCAA Tournament appearances and College World Series berths in 2000, 2002 and 2006. A native of Jupiter, Fla., O'Sullivan becomes the 21st head coach in school history.

"This is an exciting day and signals a new chapter for Gator baseball," Foley said. "What Kevin has accomplished as one of the top assistants in the nation with highly-respected recruiting skills and player development speaks for itself. He possesses the qualities in a head coach that we were looking for and is eager to hit the ground running. We are counting on Kevin to help return our program to the elite level of collegiate baseball."

Clemson's associate head coach since 2002, O'Sullivan and the Tigers recently advanced to NCAA Super Regionals for the seventh time since the format was introduced in 1999 before succumbing to Mississippi State. This total represents the second-most in the nation, trailing only the eight appearances by Miami (Fla.). A week earlier, the Tigers claimed the Myrtle Beach Regional with an unblemished 3-0 record and ousted top-seeded Coastal Carolina.

Under his tutelage, 29 Tiger hurlers have been chosen in the Major League Baseball Draft, including five last week. A school-record 11 Clemson players were taken over the two-day event, highlighted by junior left-hander Daniel Moskos going fourth overall to the Pittsburgh Pirates. During O'Sullivan's tenure, 11 pitchers have been picked in the top-five rounds, including a trio of first-rounders: Mike Paradis (1999), Tyler Lumsden (2004) and Moskos.

O'Sullivan has also had numerous top-25 recruiting rankings, including the 2005 incoming class that was ranked No. 12 by Collegiate Baseball. That class boasted four of the top-50 freshmen in the country - David Kopp (No. 9), Stan Widmann (No. 14), Taylor Harbin (No. 17), and Brad Chalk (No. 34) – a quartet who was each drafted last week. His 2007 incoming class was ranked fourth by Baseball America as well. In fact, there were a total of seven players from the Sunshine State on this year's Tiger roster.

In his first season at Clemson, O'Sullivan fine-tuned Paradis from having control problems his first two seasons to a first-round pick in 1999. He helped Ryan Mottl go 10-4 in 2000 and total 33 career wins, the third-most in school history. Those totals helped Mottl become a sixth-round pick by the Cincinnati Reds.

Under his guidance in 2001, Clemson had a 2.27 strikeout-to-walk ratio, fourth-best in school history. One of his pitchers, Steve Reba, led the ACC in wins in 2001 with a 12-3 record. Clemson has been among the top-25 in team ERA each of the last eight years.

He followed up 2001 with a 2002 season that saw Reba and Matt Henrie shine. They had 13 wins apiece and both earned All-America honors. O'Sullivan helped mold Reba and Henrie into a formidable one-two punch that led the Tigers to a third-place national finish. The 2002 team also featured B.J. LaMura, a hard-throwing right-hander who was instrumental in Clemson's late-season surge to Omaha. LaMura was a fifth-round draft pick, giving Clemson five pitchers from the 2002 squad who signed Major League contracts. That total does not include Jarrod Schmidt, who fashioned an 18-3 career record at Clemson and signed as well. The 2002 team established an ACC record for saves (26) in a season.

The 2003 team did not have any stars, but all five Tigers with at least 36.0 innings pitched sported an ERA between 3.19 and 4.30. The ‘04 squad featured All-ACC reliever Patrick Hogan, who became just the third Tiger in history to record double-digits in saves. O'Sullivan coached Lumsden, who was a first-round draft pick that year. He also helped convert Collin Mahoney from a catcher into a hard-throwing reliever. Mahoney, who had not pitched since high school, saw considerable action that year and was later a fourth-round draft pick of the Detroit Tigers.

The 2005 Tiger pitching staff came on strong in the season's latter stages. The Tigers registered a 3.94 ERA, Clemson's lowest in nine years. Josh Cribb fired two shutouts and notched a 97-24 strikeout-to-walk ratio, while Stephen Faris compiled a 2.60 ERA on his way to second-team All-ACC accolades.

His 2006 staff was sixth in the nation in ERA (3.26) and featured the weekend rotation of Faris, Cribb, and Jason Berken, who combined for a 27-6 record and 2.85 ERA. The trio was instrumental in leading the Tigers to the ACC Championship, a trip to Omaha, and a No. 5 final ranking in all three polls. In addition, Moskos tallied 10 saves and became an effective closer under the direction of O'Sullivan.

He spent the 1998 season with the Twins' Rookie League team in Fort Myers, Fla., that reached the playoffs for the first time. He was also responsible for the development of the pitchers.

O'Sullivan was the pitching coach at Virginia in 1996 and 1997, where he coached All-America and first-rounder Seth Greisenger. In '96, the Cavaliers won their first-ever ACC Tournament title and were 44-21 overall. He coached a total of three pitchers in the two years who were drafted in the top-five rounds, including a first, second, and fifth-round pick to go along with a 14th-rounder in 1997. O'Sullivan, who helped in the recruitment of student-athletes at Virginia, coached players picked in the third and 44th rounds in 1997 as well.

His talents were noticed in the summers of 1996 and 1997, when he coached in the Valley League and the Cape Cod League, respectively. O'Sullivan coached the Bourne Braves to the second-best overall record in the Cape while garnering manager-of-the-year honors. He also coached Major League star left-hander Mark Mulder in the summer of 1997. On that staff alone, eight pitchers were drafted.

In 1996, while coaching Waynesboro of the Valley League, he led his team to the pennant and was manager-of-the-year, meaning he earned that honor both years as a head coach in the summer leagues. He also coached 14 players in the two summers that were drafted, including a pair of first-round picks. O'Sullivan coached at Florida Atlantic during the 1994 and 1995 seasons, where he was responsible for the hitters, catchers, infielders, and outfielders. From 1992-93, he was an assistant at Florida Community College as the hitting and catching instructor.

In two years at Virginia and eight at Clemson, he has coached 38 pitchers who have been drafted or signed pro contracts. This list includes four first-rounders, 13 top-five-rounders, 21 top-10-rounders, and six All-Americans.

O'Sullivan graduated with honors from Virginia with a bachelor's degree in education/sports medicine in 1991. In Charlottesville, he was a member of UVa's Captain Council and Student-Athlete Mentor Program. He later earned a master's degree in exercise science & wellness from Florida Atlantic.

O'Sullivan starred at Virginia as a catcher in 1990 and 1991, where he hit a combined .351. He was a First-Team All-ACC and All-ACC Tourney recipient both years and earned a berth on the ACC Academic Honor Roll in 1990. He also played for Florida Community College in 1988 and 1989.

Courtesy UF Sports Information

Discuss in the FightinGators.com Baseball forum


Fightin Gators Top Stories