McDonnell replaces Leo Prado, who left Louisville earlier this month to become the head coach at the University of South Florida.
"There's a ton of potential and resources here for this program to be successful," McDonnell said. "I am excited to join the U of L family. This is a great place to raise a family and win championships."
"It is evident that the bar for success here at Louisville is set high," McDonnell added. "We will strive for excellence in the classroom and on the field."
In McDonnell, U of L Vice President of Athletics Tom Jurich seems to have found one of the top up and coming young coaches in the country. McDonnell, 35, has served as an assistant at Ole Miss the past six years. He's noted as one of the top recruiters in the business and also has College World Series as a player at the Citadel and as a coach with the Rebels.
"I am ecstatic with the calibre of coach we are bringing to the University of Louisville in Dan McDonnell," Jurich said. "He is a high energy guy who has a vast baseball background."
"When we met him, he was the most prepared of any candidate that I have brought in on an interview in any sport," added Jurich. "Recommendations for him came from across the country about his ability to recruit and handle student athletes. He reminds me a lot of Bobby Petrino."
At Ole Miss, McDonnell served as Mike Bianco's recruiting coordinator, infield and first base coach. An excellent recruiter, McDonnell landed four Top-20 recruiting classes, including three rated in the Top 10. Those recruiting efforts produced three first team Freshman All-Americas, one second team Freshman All-America and two honorable mention Freshman All-America selections. In addition, Ole Miss had back-to-back SEC Freshman of the Year winners.
McDonnell is considered
one of the top recruiters
in the nation.
Prior to coaching at Ole Miss, McDonnell, a 1992 graduate of The Citadel, spent eight seasons as the top assistant and recruiting coordinator at his alma mater where he helped coach the Bulldogs to five Southern Conference titles.
While Louisville will be McDonnell's first head coaching position, he's been on the short list of several Division 1 athletic directors the past few years, interviewing for head coaching jobs at Memphis, Troy State and Arkansas State.
"I'm not perfect, but I've been very observant," McDonnell said. "The key will be to minimize mistakes and not make them again."
McDonnell inherits a Louisville squad that finished the 2006 season 31-29 and lost in the Big East Championship game to Notre Dame.
"I feel we have some very talented players coming back next year," said McDonnell. "The one area of concern is depth. That will be the first need that we address."
A native of Port Chester, N.Y., McDonnell is married to the former Julie Anne Underwood of Charlotte, N.C. The couple has two sons, Jake (7) and Justin (4).
"This is going to be a great new start for our baseball program," Jurich said. "The great thing for us is that we're just scratching the surface."
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What people are saying about Dan McDonnell:
Mike Bianco - Head Coach Ole Miss
"It's going to be a huge loss for us. He's made such an impact on our program over the last six years. No doubt recruiting wise, where every one of our recruiting classes has been ranked and certainly our program would not be at the level it is now without Dan McDonnell. The U of L baseball program just got a lot better today. He's ready, and in my opinion he was the best assistant coach in the country. I leaned on him for so much for the last six years. I have no doubt that year in, year out Louisville will compete for a championship in the Big East."
John Manuel - Baseball America
"In Dan McDonnell, Louisville has hired one of the true rising stars in college baseball, a first-rate recruiter and individual who has been a winner at every step. He's not only shown he can win at the college level, but he's also shown an eye toward player development, making his players better and preparing them well for the professional ranks."
Lou Pavlovich - Editor, Collegiate Baseball
"He's a very, very dynamic coach and I know that a lot of programs were very interested in him. I think it is a real coup that the University of Louisville got him because he has really helped elevate Mississippi into the program that they are now. He's a very big reason for them to be on the brink of the College World Series the last two years. He's a great recruiter, knows all of the mechanics of the game and has brought along some really fine players that he has helped tutor and made them even better. He's really a very fine young coach."
Skip Bertman - Former head baseball coach and Director of Athletics, Louisiana State
"Dan McDonnell is a fine hire for Tom(Jurich) and the University of Louisville. He's a first class recruiter and a classy young man, whom I have watched Mike Bianco bring along in a system that can't miss, and Dan's one of those coaches who will take the system to the U of L and improve its fine tradition."
Ron Polk - Head Coach Baseball, Mississippi State
"Dan has done well at Ole miss and I think that Mike Bianco is certainly going to miss him because he was his number one recruiter. The time I've been around Dan, he has always been a pleasant guy and a very, very intense recruiter. I think it's a great hire."