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John Szefc out to rebuild Virginia
20.11.2017, 01:06 AM
Beitrag: #1
John Szefc out to rebuild Virginia
John Szefc out to rebuild Virginia Tech's baseball program | Other | roanoke
Today Rain showers in the morning with scattered thunderstorms arriving in the afternoon. High 74F. Winds WSW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 50%.. Tonight Partly cloudy skies in the evening, then becoming cloudy overnight. A stray shower or thunderstorm is possible. Low 52F. Winds light and variable. Updated: November 6, 2017 @ 2:01 am Buy Now Virginia Tech athletic director Whit Babcock (left) introduces John Szefc as Virginia Tech's new baseball coach at a Thursday news conference. Szefc steered Maryland to the NCAA tournament this year. Buy Now Virginia Tech athletic director Whit Babcock (left) introduces John Szefc as Virginia Tech's new baseball coach at a Thursday news conference. Szefc steered Maryland to the NCAA tournament this year. BLACKSBURG — John Szefc built a successful baseball program at Maryland.He hopes to pull off the same feat at Virginia Tech.Szefc, who was hired as Virginia Tech's baseball coach last week, was introduced at a Lane Stadium news conference Thursday.Szefc steered the Terrapins to three NCAA tournament berths in his five years at that school, including an appearance in the Wake Forest Regional earlier this month.He takes over a Virginia Tech program that never had a winning season in Patrick Mason's four years at the helm."My passion is really building programs," Szefc said. "I love new challenges."Szefc, 49, will get a hefty raise by changing schools.Szefc (pronounced CHEF) had an annual base salary of $251,000 at Maryland. He will have a prorated portion of a $400,000 salary for the rest of this calendar year at Virginia Tech. His salary will be $425,000 for the 2018 calendar year.Szefc's contract covers the next six seasons. He will get a $25,000 raise each year, with his salary rising to $550,000 for the 2022 calendar year. He will get a prorated portion of a $600,000 salary for the 2023 calendar year; the contract ends in June 2023.Virginia Tech athletic director Whit Babcock said every baseball coach at the public colleges in the ACC makes at least $300,000 a year, with most of them making at least $400,000 and the average salary being $518,000."It is a significant investment, … but to compete in this league and go get the type of talent that you want, we felt like it was well worth it," Babcock said.Mason, who was fired last month, had a salary of $168,466 this year. Mason's predecessor, Pete Hughes, made $157,437 in his final year at Tech before leaving after the 2013 season to take the Oklahoma job.By comparison, Monte Lee, the baseball coach at ACC and national power Clemson, made $450,000 this year. Dan McDonnell, who has steered ACC member Louisville to the College World Series this year, has a $1 million salary.Hughes had five winning seasons in his seven years at Tech, but he said this month that he was never able to beat North Carolina, South Carolina, Clemson, Vanderbilt or Virginia for a recruit.Szefc, though, will be able to show off an expanded ballpark to recruits. English Field is undergoing an $18 million makeover that is expected to be ready for next season"If you don't have the front-line facilities that you need in a conference like this, you may never get the talent you want to come to your place," Szefc said. "When you look at everything that's going on out there [at English Field], that is a monstrous foundation."The renovation, which was announced last year, will not only add more seats but also a team clubhouse, a new press box and a new video board."It's going to really help us get things moving," Szefc said. "You compare it to some of the other facilities in the league, it'll either be just as good if not better."The makeover was a "huge selling point" in luring Szefc to Tech, although he said he would have been interested regardless."That made it way easier," Szefc said.Szefc is 392-259-3 as a head coach, including 212 wins and four NCAA bids at Marist. He was an assistant at Louisiana-Lafayette, Kansas and Kansas State in between his Marist and Maryland head-coaching jobs.Szefc was 180-122 at Maryland, including two years in the ACC and three in the Big Ten.The opportunity to return to the ACC attracted Szefc to Tech — although he said the league is even better than it was when Maryland was a member because of the addition of Louisville Torrey Mitchell Jersey.Babcock said that as he sought recommendations for a new coach in the first few weeks after he fired Mason, Szefc's name came up a lot."Coaches … that I really trusted said, ‘Whit, he's really darn good, he liked the ACC and he may be movable,' " Babcock said.Szefc did not love driving 45 minutes to work each day at Maryland."My kids are getting a little older, and … [the drive] was taking away from me going to their games and Anna's horse competitions and that sort of thing," he said. "We've lived in a college town before. We've lived in Manhattan, Kansas, and Lawrence, Kansas, and Lafayette, Louisiana, and they're great family places."Szefc was also interested in the job because o the rise of Tech athletics under Babcock. He also liked the fact that Babcock is a former college baseball player and the son of a former college baseball coach.At Maryland, Szefc took over a team that had a winning season in 2012 under predecessor Eric Bakich, who was hired away by Michigan after that season.In Szefc's second year with the Terrapins (2014), he led the school to its first NCAA bid in 43 years. The Terrapins advanced to the Super Regionals in both 2014 and 2015."Bakich … left us some really good players," Szefc said. "A big thing for me was just getting the attitude and the culture in that it's not OK to go 1-2 on the weekend."There's really good returning players here. There's good incoming players that are coming in here — very similar to the way it was when I got there."The Hokies' last winning season was 2013, when Tech hosted an NCAA regional."We're going to make Blacksburg a baseball town," Babcock said. "It has been before and it will be again." Mark Berman Mark Berman covers Virginia Tech men's basketball and many other teams at the university. He also helps cover other colleges, including Radford, VMI, Roanoke, Washington and Lee and Ferrum. Whenever Mark Berman posts new content, you'll get an email delivered to your inbox with a link Chris Terry Jersey. Email notifications are only sent once a day, and only if there are new matching items. Sign up to receive our daily newsletters and get special offers delivered right to your inbox. Sign Up Roanoke Times, Roanoke, VA 2017 BH Media Group, Inc. | Terms of Use
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