After leading the Virginia baseball program to its first NCAA
Championship in 2015, five-time ACC Coach of the Year and three-time
national coach of the year Brian O'Connor reached yet another new level
of success with the Cavaliers. Now in his 16th season as head coach of
the Cavaliers, O'Connor has built his program into a college baseball
powerhouse and turned Virginia Baseball into a national brand.
The numbers during O'Connor's first 13 years are staggering:
• 2015 NCAA Champions
• Four College World Series appearances and two CWS Finals berths
• 13 straight NCAA tournament appearances
• Seven NCAA regional championships
• Two ACC championships
• Four 50-win seasons
• 558 wins, including a NCAA-best 342 wins since 2009
O'Connor enters the 2016 season with a career record of 558-201-2
and a 225-122-1 record in ACC play after guiding Virginia to the 2015
NCAA Championship as part of the program's 12th-consecutive NCAA
tournament appearance. Virginia is one of just six programs in the
nation to earn a berth in the NCAA tournament in each of the last 12
seasons. This success has led to record crowds, excitement and national
exposure for Virginia baseball.
O'Connor boasts the highest winning percentage of all current
head coaches in Division I baseball (74.3 percent). A three-time
National Coach of the Year, O'Connor is the second fastest ACC coach to
reach 500 career wins. His UVa teams have racked up 10 40-win seasons
and played host to eight NCAA regionals and four NCAA super regionals.
Cavalier fans have flocked to UVa's Davenport Field in
increasing, record numbers during the O'Connor tenure, prompting several
stadium expansions to push the stadium seating capacity over 5,000 in
order to meet the rapidly intensifying demand. Virginia has ranked among
the top 20 nationally in attendance in each of the last six seasons,
including a program-best 142,496 fans in 2014 as UVa finished 11th in
attendance. More than 110,000 fans have passed through the Davenport
Field turnstiles in five of the last six years since 2010.
UVa has ranked among the top 40 in the nation in total home
attendance and average home attendance in all 12 years of O'Connor's
tenure. Virginia finished a multi-million dollar stadium renovation in
the spring of 2010, pushing Davenport Field among the elite in college
O'Connor was named the National Coach of the Year in 2015 by
Collegiate Baseball and Perfect Game, marking the third year he has
earned such an honor. He was tabbed the 2009 NCBWA and
CollegeBaseballInsider.com National Coach of the Year and also was named
the 2006 College Baseball Foundation Coach of the Year. He is a
five-time recipient of ABCA Atlantic Region Coach of the Year laurels
(2004, 2009, 2011, 2014, 2015) and five-time ACC Coach of the Year
honoree (2004, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014).
Sixty-six of O'Connor's Virginia players have been selected in
the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, including 39 in the
last six years. Left-handed pitcher Danny Hultzen was taken second
overall in the 2011 MLB Draft by the Seattle Mariners, marking UVa's
highest draft pick ever. Three Cavaliers were selected in the first
round in 2014, the most of any program in the country.
Fourteen former Cavaliers have reached the major leagues after
playing for O'Connor, highlighted by Washington Nationals' all-star and
Gold Glove third baseman Ryan Zimmerman. Mark Reynolds (Cleveland), Joe
Koshansky (Colorado), Brandon Guyer (Tampa Bay), Michael Schwimer
(Toronto), Mike Ballard (Baltimore), Sean Doolittle (Oakland), David
Adams (New York Yankees), Phil Gosselin (Atlanta), Kyle Crockett
(Cleveland), Chris Taylor (Seattle), Jarrett Parker (San Francisco),
Tyler Wilson (Baltimore) and John Hicks (Seattle) also have made it to
baseball's highest level after playing under O'Connor while at UVa.
In 2005 Zimmerman went on to make one of the quickest jumps ever
to the major leagues - two months - and in 2009 became the first former
Cavalier to play in the MLB All-Star Game. In 2014 Crockett became the
first player from the 2013 MLB Draft to reach the big leagues. Doolittle
became the first former Cavalier pitcher to appear in the MLB All-Star
Game in 2014.
The Cavaliers also have become a fixture in the national polls,
highlighted by UVa's first-ever No. 1 ranking in 2010. Virginia was
ranked No. 1 by Baseball America for 12 weeks during the 2010 season and
for a dozen more weeks in 2011. UVa reached the top of the polls again
in 2014, spending 13 weeks at No. 1, and in 2015.