Staff
Head Baseball Coach
Chris Francis

Chris Francis begins his fourth year at the helm of the Virginia Wesleyan baseball program in 2018.

In his first year as head coach, he helped guide the Marlins to the 2015 ODAC tournament, the first trip to the postseason for the squad since the 2010 season. The second place regular-season finish was also the best since 2010 while the ODAC tournament runner-up finish was a first since 2009.

The 2015 team went 14-6 in ODAC play, a six game improvement over the previous season. The 14 wins were the most conference victories by a Marlin baseball team since the 2004 team won 15 conference games in route to an NCAA tournament berth. He also coached eight members of the team to All-ODAC honors, the most by a Marlin squad since the 1997 season.

The 2017 season saw the Marlins go 21-20, the first time the program has won at least 20 games in a season since the 2010 campaign. He led pitcher Patrick Monteverde to ODAC Rookie of the Year honors, the first time a Marlin has earned the award since the 2008 season. Following the 2017 season, Coach Francis and the 2018 Marlins finished with the most wins in the ODAC Conference in nine years, and the most regular season wins ever in Virginia Wesleyan University history. The baseball team was also ranked in the top 25 nationally for the first time in over ten years and received its first regional bid since 2006.

The head coaching stint is the second time Francis has been at Virginia Wesleyan, guiding the pitching staff from 2003-07. The 2003 pitching staff ranked second nationally with a 2.19 ERA, setting a program record for wins behind a 34-9 record. He was part of a winning campaign each season, highlighted by 30+ win seasons in 2003 and 2004. The Marlins won three ODAC titles, advancing to the NCAA tournament three times.

One of the top pitching instructors, Francis has coached more than 35 players who have signed into professional baseball.

Prior to his return to Virginia Wesleyan, he was the head coach at Division II College of St. Rose in Albany, New York. He has also coached at Division II Mansfield University, where he guided the Mountaineers to a pair of 30+ win seasons and an NCAA tournament appearance. Francis, in total, has led four different baseball programs to NCAA berths.

Francis also has coaching experience at the University of Rochester and Ithaca College. He helped Rochester to a pair of ECAC titles and an NCAA berth in 1999, while also helping Ithaca to three-straight Empire 8 Conference crowns and three NCAA tournament appearances.

He played at Ithaca where he was part of three teams that qualified for the NCAA tournament, with the 1994 squad advancing all the way to the NCAA Division III College World Series. He was an all-region selection in his time on campus and was recipient of the Carlton “Carp” Wood Award for Attitude. He graduated from Ithaca in 1997.

Francis and his wife Meghan have a son, Christian, and a daughter, Lillian.

Career Highlights:

ODAC Championship Appearance - 2015, 2018
NCAA Regional Appearance - 2018
Guided 36 players into professional baseball
All-ODAC Honorees – 21
ODAC Players of the Year – 1
ODAC Pitchers of the Year – 1
ODAC Rookies of the Year - 1
All-State Honorees – 9
All-Region Honorees – 11
NCAA Regional All-Tournament Team - 2
All-American Honorees – 10

Assistant Baseball Coach
Jon Spears

Spears enters his third year with the baseball program in the 2018 season, working primarily with the outfielders and hitters.

Working with the hitters, Spears helped the 2016 squad to a .305 batting average, .372 on-base percentage, and .435 slugging percentage. The squad bashed 17 homeruns, scoring 225 runs in 33 games.

Spears saw three of his outfielders (Justin Erby, Taylor Erby, and Randy Neisz) achieve All-ODAC honors in his first year on staff. The trio all hit over .325, highlighted by Justin Erby's .356 mark and 16 stolen bases. Neisz batted .325 and led the squad with five homeruns while Taylor Erby posted a .325 mark a team-best 31 RBI.

Coach Spears in a Virginia Beach native, graduated from Salem HS. Spears and his wife Megan, reside in Virginia Beach with their two boys Mason and River and newborn daughter Suton.

Assistant Baseball Coach
Kyle Dubois

Kyle Dubois joined the Virginia Wesleyan University Marlins for the 2018 season after spending the previous ten years in the recreation industry. He most recently coached Cox High School where he was a head coach and strength and conditioning coordinator for the program. He oversaw all aspects of the three-time state contender Cox Falcon baseball program and primarily focused on the pitchers.

In his first year with the Marlins, 2018, six players received All-ODAC accolades, highlighted by first-team selections, Sophomore Pitcher/Utility: Jacob Pilarski, Senior Pitcher: Glen Pizzanello, and Senior Shortstop: Brandon Kussmaul. The remaining three players were Senior Outfielder: Randy Niesz (2nd-Team), Senior Pitcher: Chance Pauley (3rd-Team), and Junior Infielder: Brady Fallon (3rd-Team). Continuing in his first year with the Marlins, three players received All-South Region Honors selected by America Baseball Coaches Association/Rawlings and D3baseball.com, highlighted by first-team selection, Sophomore Pitcher/Utility: Jacob Pilarski, followed by Senior Shortstop: Brandon Kussmaul (2nd-Team), and Senior Infielder: Corey King (2nd-Team). Ending his first year with the Marlins, 2018, one player was named to the All-America Team by D3baseball.com, Sophomore Pitcher/Utility: Jacob Pilarski (3rd-Team). This is the program's first All-America selection since 2010.

Dubois came on to the Marlins baseball staff 14 games in to the 2018 season. He helped the coaching staff finish with the most wins in ODAC Conference in nine years, and the most regular season wins ever in Virginia Wesleyan history. The squad was also ranked in the top 25 nationally for the first time in over ten years and received its first regional bid since 2006.

Working with the pitchers, Dubois helped the 2018 squad to a 3.26 conference earned run average, and a 3.98 total earned run average. The pitching staff struck out a total of 330 batters in 47 games, the most in Virginia Wesleyan history. He helped Glen Pizzanello earn National Pitcher of the Week Honors named by D3baseball.com and helped Jacob Pilarski earn ODAC Conference Pitcher of the Week Honors on two separate occasions. Dubois helped Pizzanello to a team-best 2.11 earn run average with 6 wins, 6 saves, and 46 strikeouts in relief. Dubois also helped Pilarski raise his earned run average from 10.23 to a team-best 2.05 with 11 wins (the most wins in Virginia Wesleyan history), 0 losses, 3 complete games, 2 shutouts, and 80 strikeouts as a starter in his first year on staff.

Dubois coached current MLB player Chris Taylor and trained other previous and current MLB players in his career. Before beginning his coaching career, Dubois was previously drafted in the MLB by the Chicago Cubs in 2001 and 2002. He also played for Shreveport Sports the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball in 2006-2008.

Dubois graduated from State College of Florida (Manatee Community College) in 2004 with an Associates Degree in Physical Education and Business Administration before getting his Bachelors of Science Degree from Old Dominion University in 2009. He is married to the former Maria Winship of Virginia Beach, VA. The two reside in Virginia Beach, VA with their dog and son.

Career Highlights:

ODAC Championship Appearance - 2018
NCAA Regional Appearance - 2018
Guided 4 players into professional baseball
All-ODAC Honorees – 6
All-State Honorees – 2
All-Region Honorees – 3
NCAA Regional All-Tournament Team - 2
All-American Honorees – 1