On July 10, 2017, the ETSU Department of Intercollegiate Athletics announced that former Stony Brook associate head coach Joe Pennucci has been named the new head coach of the Buccaneers’ baseball program.
Pennucci, who replaces longtime ETSU head coach Tony Skole, served as recruiting coordinator at Stony Brook and helped guide that program to multiple NCAA Regionals over the last 12 seasons – including a trip to the College World Series in 2012. Pennucci said he’s excited to get to work.
“This is such a wonderful opportunity to be a part of this university and baseball program,” Pennucci said. “I want to thank President Noland, Dr. Sander, Scott Carter and the entire administration. I am looking forward to getting to work and I am excited to jump in with both feet.”
ETSU Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Dr. Richard Sander said Pennucci was the right fit for ETSU.
“Joe Pennucci personifies the work ethic and commitment to excellence that we have developed at ETSU,” Sander said. “He has been one of the key ingredients in developing a mid-major program that has had incredible success. Advancing to the College World Series plus numerous appearances in the NCAA Tournament demonstrates the type of success that accompanies Coach Pennucci.
“When I talked to head coaches and those who understand mid-major college baseball, they said Joe Pennucci is a star and is going to do great things. The word is he is a tireless worker, an incredible recruiter, a dynamic relationship builder and a great baseball man. When the ETSU family and the entire Northeast Tennessee community meet Coach Pennucci, they will quickly understand why ETSU baseball is in great hands. Joe is going to fit into the ETSU athletic department perfectly and I have no doubt he will take us to the next level of success in baseball.”
Pennucci just completed his 12th season at Stony Brook and his sixth as the Associate Head Coach of the Seawolves, having been promoted from assistant coach in August 2012. He also served as the team's recruiting coordinator and had been instrumental in the program's skyrocketing success.
Since Pennucci arrived prior to the 2007 season, Stony Brook has been to four NCAA Regionals in his tenure, including returning to the NCAA Regional in 2015 after claiming the America East title. Pennucci was also instrumental in the Seawolves' memorable run to the 2012 College World Series when Stony Brook won a school record and NCAA-best 52 games.
In addition to the four America East tournament titles Stony Brook has earned since Pennucci joined the staff, the team was also dominant in the conference regular season with a combined 107 wins over the past six seasons.
Pennucci has shown that he can recruit and help develop players who can play at the next level as Stony Brook has seen 32 student-athletes selected in the MLB Draft or signed professionally during his tenure, including three current Major Leaguers (Tom Koehler, Nick Tropeano and Travis Jankowski). The Seawolves also saw a record seven players drafted in 2012, which included the program's first-ever first-round selection in Jankowski.
Over his 12 years at Stony Brook, the Seawolves have had a national player of the year, seven All-Americans, and seven freshman All-Americans. Stony Brook has also taken home a combined 14 America East Player, Pitcher and Rookie of the Year awards, including five of the last seven rookies of the year.
Pennucci's recruiting class of 2009, which included Jankowski, was re-ranked by Baseball America as the fifth-best recruiting class in the entire nation.
In addition to his duties as recruiting coordinator, Pennucci also worked with hitters and was responsible for overall team defense. In 2015, Stony Brook's defense ranked among the nation's best with a .978 fielding percentage. In 2012, the Seawolves ranked in the top 10 in the nation in nine offensive categories including batting average, scoring and hits and were 10th in fielding percentage after leading the country in the category in 2011. In 2010, the team also was sixth in the nation in batting average and 30th in fielding.