OMAHA. Neb. (NCBWA) – After leading his team to the program's
first appearance at the NCAA College World Series, Virginia head
coach Brian O'Connor was named the National Coach of the
Year by the National College Baseball Writers Association.
The award, which was voted on by the NCBWA Board of Directors,
was chosen from a list that included all Division I Conference Coaches
of the Year and the coaches of the eight NCAA College World Series
teams. O'Connor, who was the only coach to appear on every voter's
ballot, received the honor Saturday morning at the Omaha Press Club.
After an impressive regular season, the Cavaliers (47-13-1) rattled
off wins against Clemson, North Carolina, Duke and Florida State
to win the ACC Tournament championship as the No. 6 seed.
O'Connor then led the Cavaliers across the country to compete
as the No. 2 seed at the NCAA Irvine Regional. There, they defeated
San Diego State and host and No. 6 national seed UC Irvine twice
to advance to the first NCAA Super Regional in school history.
Following a 4-3 loss in 12 innings during the first game of the
NCAA Oxford Super Regional against Mississippi, the Cavaliers scored
two runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to take a 4-3 win in
Game Two and broke open a close game with three runs in the fifth
inning on the way to a 5-1 victory in the championship game.
Entering the 2009 NCAA College World series, O'Connor has posted
a 264-102-1 career record. In six seasons as the Cavaliers' skipper,
he has led Virginia to NCAA Regional berths each year with five
40-win seasons during that time. His program has produced more than
20 players selected in the annual Major League Baseball draft, including
a school-record six players in each of the last two seasons.
While the Cavaliers are newcomers to the NCAA College World Series,
O'Connor is certainly no stranger to the Omaha area. He competed
at Creighton from 1990 to 1993, racking up 20 career wins and helping
lead the Bluejays to the 1991 NCAA College World Series.
O'Connor became the second recipient of the honor in the award's
young history. Fresno State head coach Mike Batesole, who led the
Bulldogs out of an NCAA Regional as a No. 4 seed to the national
championship, received the inaugural award in 2008.
O'Connor leads the Cavaliers during the first day of the NCAA
College World Series when they face No. 3 national seed LSU at 6
p.m., Saturday, in Omaha's legendary Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium.
They will then face the winner or loser of the Cal State Fullerton-Arkansas
game on Monday.
NCBWA membership includes writers, broadcasters and publicists.
Designed to promote and publicize college baseball, it is the sport's
only college media-related organization, founded in 1962.
For additional information on the NCBWA Coach of the Year Award,
contact Russ Anderson
at Conference USA at 214-774-1351.
• NCBWA Coach of the Year