Head Baseball Coach
University of Louisville &
2019 USA Baseball Collegiate National Team Head Coach
- 14th Season at Louisville
- Overall Record: 605-240 (.718 winning percentage) in 13 seasons
- Closed 2019 ranked 3rd nationally among active coaches in winning percentage (minimum 5 years)
- Two-time National Coach of the Year (2017 Baseball America, 2007 Rivals)
- Three-Time ACC Coach of the Year (2015, 2016, 2017)
- Cardinals rank 1st nationally in wins (605) from 2007-19
- Five College World Series appearances (2007, 2013, 2014, 2017, 2019)
- 12 NCAA Regional appearances
- 8 NCAA Super Regional appearances (including five straight)
- 10 conference championships (2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2019)
- 1 National Player of the Year, 38 All-Americans, 98 all-conference selections, 7 conference Pitchers of the Year, 4 conference Players of the Year & 1 conference Freshman of the Year
- In McDonnell's 13 seasons as head coach, 84 Louisville players have been selected in the MLB Draft with 80 of those signing professional contracts.
- Education: The Citadel, 1992 & 1995
On June 27, 2006, Dan McDonnell, one of the top young minds in college baseball, was named the 18th head coach of the University of Louisville baseball team. And on June 15, 2007, McDonnell and the Cardinals took the field at hallowed Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha for game one of the 2007 College World Series.
Not bad for 353 days on the job.
As the first rookie head coach to lead his team to Omaha in 27 years, McDonnell was named National Coach of the Year by Rivals.com after guiding the Cardinals to a then-school record 47 wins during that 2007 season. He followed that impressive debut season by leading Louisville to 11 more NCAA appearances during the next 12 years, including four more College World Series berths in 2013, 2014, 2017 and 2019, as well as nine conference regular season titles and two conference tournament championships. Louisville has hosted 14 different rounds of NCAA postseason baseball in the last 13 years with NCAA Super Regionals in 2007, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2019 as well as eight NCAA Regionals in 2009, 2010, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2019. McDonnell added his second career National Coach of the Year honor following the 2017 season receiving the award from Baseball America.
In McDonnell’s first 13 seasons as head coach, Louisville ranked No. 1 nationally in wins with 605, including a school-record 53 wins during the record-setting 2017 season. During the 13-year span, the Cardinals have produced a consensus National Player of the Year (Brendan McKay, 2017), 38 All-Americans, 98 all-conference selections, seven conference Pitcher of the Year winners, four conference Player of the Year winners and one conference Freshman of the Year. Additionally, the UofL baseball program has generated 84 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft selections in the last 13 years.
The Louisville program reached new heights in 2019, posting a 51-18 overall record and recording the deepest postseason run in program history. The Cardinals captured the ACC Atlantic Division crown for the fourth time in five seasons and earned a national seed for the fifth time in program history. After rallying out of the loser's bracket to capture the Louisville regional, the Cardinals swept East Carolina in the super regional round to punch their fifth ticket to the College World Series. In Omaha, Louisville lost its opening contest before defeating Auburn and Mississippi State to reach the bracket final for the first time. The Cardinals notched their highest final ranking in program history, sitting third in five of the six national polls. Individually, Reid Detmers was a near consensus All-American and captured ACC Pitcher of the Year honors. Eight Cardinals were selected in the 2019 MLB Draft and signed professional contracts -- Logan Wyatt (San Francisco Giants, second round), Michael McAvene (Chicago Cubs, third round), Tyler Fitzgerald (San Francisco Giants, fourth round), Nick Bennett (Milwaukee Brewers, sixth round), Bryan Hoeing (Miami Marlins, seventh round), Jake Snider (Pittsburgh Pirates, 20th round), Drew Campbell (Atlanta Braves, 23rd round) and Shay Smiddy (Tampa Bay Rays, 36th round).
The Cardinals finished the 2018 season with a 45-19 record overall after advancing to the final round of an NCAA Regional for the seventh straight year. Louisville registered its seventh straight 40-win season and the 11th in 12 seasons under McDonnell. The Cardinals also advanced to the ACC Championship final for the first time since joining the league. Individually, a trio Louisville players earned All-America honors as lefthanded pitcher Adam Wolf was a second team selection and outfielder Josh Stowers and first baseman Logan Wyatt were third team members. Following the season, eight UofL players were selected in the 2018 MLB Draft -- Stowers to the Seattle Mariners (second round); Wolf to the Detroit Tigers (fifth round); infielder Devin Mann to the Los Angeles Dodgers (fifth round); pitcher Riley Thompson to the Chicago Cubs (11th round); pitcher Sam Bordner to the Miami Marlins (16th round); pitcher Liam Jenkins to the Cleveland Indians (17th round); pitcher Austin Conway to the Chicago White Sox (31st round); and pitcher Bryan Hoeing to the San Francisco Giants (36th round).
The Louisville baseball team concluded its record-setting 2017 season ranked fifth in every major national poll after advancing to the College World Series for the fourth time in school history, setting a school record for wins with a 53-12 mark and earning the program’s third straight ACC Atlantic Division championship. In addition to the team success, the Cardinals also received numerous individual honors, highlighted by consensus National Player of the Year Brendan McKay. The 53 wins in 2017 for Louisville surpassed the previous school record mark of 51 victories achieved in 2013. The Cardinals are the only team in the country to advance to an NCAA Super Regional in each of the last five seasons while ranking second nationally in total wins (251) during that five-year span.
McKay became the program’s first National Player of the Year as the junior two-way standout swept each of the seven awards, including the prestigious Golden Spikes Award and Dick Howser Trophy. The Darlington, Pennsylvania native also earned his third straight John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year honor and was selected as the ACC Player of the Year. McKay became the highest MLB Draft selection in program history going fourth overall in the first round to the Tampa Bay Rays.
Pitcher Lincoln Henzman was honored as the 2017 National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Stopper of the Year, a First Team All-American and All-ACC First Team selection while also being selected in the fourth round of the MLB Draft by the Chicago White Sox. Shortstop Devin Hairston was selected as the ACC Defensive Player of the Year, earned All-America honors for the second straight season and was chosen in the sixth round of the MLB Draft by the Milwaukee Brewers.
Drew Ellis emerged as one of the nation’s top hitters in 2017 earning First Team All-America honors, All-ACC First Team recognition and was the ACC Baseball Scholar-Athlete of the Year. The third baseman was selected 44th overall in the second round of the MLB Draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks. Additionally, sophomore reliever Sam Bordner was an All-American honoree, pitcher Nick Bennett was a Freshman All-American and All-ACC Third Team selection, Colby Fitch was an All-ACC Second Team member and was selected in the 13th round of the MLB Draft by the Philadelphia Phillies, Kade McClure was an All-ACC Third Team honoree and was chosen in the sixth round of the MLB Draft by the White Sox and outfielder Logan Taylor was taken in the 16th round of the MLB Draft by the White Sox.
The Louisville baseball program experienced another strong season in 2016 as the Cardinals won their second straight ACC Atlantic Division championship, advanced to a fourth straight NCAA Super Regional and reached the 50-win plateu for the fourth time in school history while finishing 50-14 overall. Louisville players received numerous honors and accolades in 2016, highlighted by Brendan McKay becoming the first repeat winner of the John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award. McKay was among seven different Cardinals (Zack Burdi, Devin Hairston, Drew Harrington, Kade McClure, Corey Ray, Nick Solak) earning All-America honors this season setting a single season school record. Louisville also received a pair of ACC awards for the second straight season as Harrington was tabbed as the league’s Pitcher of the Year and McDonnell repeated as Coach of the Year.
For the third time in school history and the second straight season, Louisville was chosen by the NCAA Division I Selection Committee as a national seed for the 2016 NCAA Championship. Named as the No. 7 national seed in 2010 and No. 3 national seed in 2015, the Cardinals were in the No. 2 spot in 2016 after leading the nation in RPI top 50 wins with 20 and was second overall in the RPI. The Cardinals finished the season ranked in the top 10 nationally in nine different statistical categories -- hits allowed per 9 IP (2nd), sacrifice flies (3rd), shutouts (3rd), ERA (5th), batting average (6th), doubles (6th), slugging percentage (6th), WHIP (6th) and runs scored (9th).
The Louisville baseball program set a school record with three players selected in the first round of the 2016 MLB Draft, while seven of the team’s eight selections were among the first 115 players selected overall. Ray became the highest draft selection ever for the Cardinals going No. 5 overall to the Milwaukee Brewers. He was joined in the first round by Burdi (No. 26, Chicago White Sox) and Will Smith (No. 32, Los Angeles Dodgers). That trio was followed by Solak (2nd Round, No. 62, New York Yankees), Harrington (3rd Round, No. 80, Atlanta Braves), Blake Tiberi (3rd Round, No. 100, New York Mets), Kyle Funkhouser (4th Round, No. 115, Detroit Tigers) and Lincoln Henzman (31st Round, Seattle Mariners).
The 2015 baseball season was another record-setting campaign for Louisville, highlighted by an impressive debut in the ACC as well as the program’s third straight NCAA Super Regional berth. In its inaugural season in the ACC, Louisville dominated the Atlantic Division in record-setting fashion with a 25-5 mark and McDonnell was honored as the ACC Coach of the Year.
For the second time in school history, Louisville was tabbed by the NCAA Division I Selection Committee as a national seed for the 2015 NCAA Championship entering the postseason as the No. 3 team in the nation. Despite falling one game short of their third straight trip to Omaha, the Cardinals hosted NCAA Regional and Super Regional at Jim Patterson Stadium for the second straight season while advancing to their fifth Super Regional in nine years.
McKay delivered the best rookie season in school history earning national Freshman of the Year honors from multiple organizations as well as being selected as the John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year by the College Baseball Hall of Fame. Tabbed as the nation’s top freshman by Baseball America, D1Baseball and Perfect Game, McKay was also honored as a First Team All-American by those same three outlets as well as the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association and was the ACC Freshman of the Year.
Led by McKay’s Freshman of the Year and Two-Way Player of the Year honors, the Cardinals earned numerous national accolades during the 2015 season. McKay was joined by Ray, Burdi and Funkhouser as All-Americans, while Henzman and Sean Leland were tabbed as Freshman All-Americans.
Along with the two major awards for McDonnell and McKay, the Cardinals had a league-high five players named to the All-ACC first team to go with two second team selections and two All-Freshman Team honorees. McKay led the way for Louisville earning All-ACC first team accolades as a starting pitcher, second team accolades as a utility player and All-Freshman team recognition. The Cardinals were also represented on the All-ACC first team by infielder Sutton Whiting, Funkhouser, Burdi and Ray. Pitcher Josh Rogers was named to the second team and Henzman was chosen for the All-Freshman team.
Following the season, three Louisville players signed professional contracts after being chosen in the 2015 Major League Baseball Draft. Rogers was chosen in the 11th round by the New York Yankees, lefty pitcher Robert Strader went in the 12th round to the Baltimore Orioles and infielder Sutton Whiting was taken by the Chicago Cubs in the 24th round. Additionally, Funkhouser became the highest draft selection in school history going 35th overall to the Los Angeles Dodgers during the first round of picks, but the righty elected to return to Louisville for his senior season in 2016.
The Cardinals continued their upward trajectory in 2014 highlighted by the return to Omaha for the third time under McDonnell, another 50-win season, the inaugural American Conference regular season championship and a pair of successful NCAA postseason events at Jim Patterson Stadium. After being chosen as a host site for an NCAA Regional for the second straight year, Louisville swept through its NCAA Regional with wins over Kent State, Kansas and Kentucky before clinching the CWS berth with a Super Regional triumph over Kennesaw State in front of a then-school record crowd of 6,007.
Louisville ended 2014 ranked as highly as No. 6 in the final national rankings while also leaving its mark on the NCAA statistics. On the mound, the Cardinals ranked fifth in the nation in strikeouts per nine innings at 8.4, 12th in hits allowed per nine innings (7.4), 19th nationally in shutouts with eight and 20th in ERA at 2.80. Offensively, Louisville was second in the nation in stolen bases for the second straight season with 133, fifth in stolen bases per game at 1.99, fifth in runs with 417, sixth in hit by pitch with 109 and 14th in sacrifice flies with 34.
Individually, the trio of senior outfielder Jeff Gardner, junior righty closer Nick Burdi and sophomore righty starter Kyle Funkhouser led the way earning All-American honors for the Cardinals in 2014. Gardner was named Second Team All-America by Collegiate Baseball newspaper and the NCBWA and Third Team All-America by the ABCA, while Burdi, the NCBWA Stopper of the Year, was named First Team All-America by Collegiate Baseball newspaper, Perfect Game, the ABCA and the NCBWA. Funkhouser earned Second Team All-America honors from the NCBWA and Collegiate Baseball newspaper and Third Team All-America accolades from Baseball America and Perfect Game.
Prior to the postseason, Gardner was named American Conference Player of the Year to lead a group of seven Cardinals earning All-American Conference honors. It marked the eighth time in the last eight seasons a member of the Cardinals has been selected as conference player or pitcher of the year and the first time a Cardinal was the player of the year since Chris Dominguez earned back-to-back Big East Player of the Year awards in 2008 and 2009. Joining Gardner as All-American Conference First Team selections were Burdi, third baseman Alex Chittenden and Funkhouser. Righty Jared Ruxer and outfielder/lefty pitcher Cole Sturgeon were All-American Conference Second Team honorees, while second baseman Zach Lucas was an All-American Conference Third Team pick.
Major League Baseball continued to take notice in the Louisville program as a total eight Cardinals were chosen in the 2014 MLB Draft with seven of those signing professional contracts. Burdi led the way becoming the highest draft pick in school history at the time going 46th overall in the second round to the Minnesota Twins. He was followed by Gardner going in the eighth round to the Washington Nationals, Sturgeon going in the 10th round to the Boston Red Sox, righty Jared Ruxer going in the 12th round by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, lefty Joe Filomeno went in the 15th round to the Texas Rangers, infielder Grant Kay going in the 27th round to the Tampa Bay Rays, Lucas going in the 29th round to the Pittsburgh Pirates (did not sign pro contract) and lefty Kyle McGrath in the 36th round to the San Diego Padres.
Even with all of the success in the program since McDonnell's arrival, the 2013 season proved to be one of the best ever with the Cardinals return to the College World Series for the second time while also winning a record-setting 51 games. That victory total included a 16-game winning streak to close the regular season to clinch the fourth BIG EAST championship in five seasons. Louisville's march to Omaha started at home where the Cardinals' hosted an NCAA Regional at Jim Patterson Stadium for the third time. After earning wins over Bowling Green, Miami (Fla.) and Oklahoma State, Louisville traveled to Nashville, Tenn., for an NCAA Super Regional showdown with No. 2 national seed Vanderbilt. In the latest chapter of a highly competitive rivalry, the Cardinals became the first team in 2013 to take a series from the Commodores winning back-to-back days at Hawkins Field to advance to the CWS.
The Cardinals closed the season ranked as highly as No. 8 in the final set of national rankings. Led by one of the nation's best pitching staffs, Louisville closed the season fifth in the NCAA in ERA at 2.52 and first in strikeouts per nine innings at 9.6. Offensively, the Cardinals were second in the nation in stolen bases with 150, just three shy of matching the school record of 153 set during the 2007 CWS season. Louisville also led the nation in hit-by-pitch with 129.
Individually, Burdi and righty pitcher Jeff Thompson earned All-America honors from multiple organizations to become the 14th and 15th players respectively at Louisville to be honored among the nation's best. Burdi garnered All-America honors from Perfect Game (First Team) and the NCBWA (Second Team), while Thompson was named Louisville Slugger Second Team All-America by College Baseball newspaper, Third Team All-America by Perfect Game and Third Team All-America by NCBWA. Two more righty pitchers, Funkhouser and Anthony Kidston, were named Louisville Slugger Freshman All-Americans by Collegiate Baseball newspaper.
Following the regular season, Thompson was honored as BIG EAST Conference Pitcher of the Year in 2013 becoming the fifth different Louisville player to earn the award as a school record-tying 10 Cardinals earned All-BIG EAST accolades. Joining Thompson as First Team All-BIG EAST selections were Gardner and Burdi. The Cardinals, who equaled last year's record-setting 10 All-BIG EAST selections, had four players named Second Team All-BIG EAST -- righthanded pitcher Chad Green, outfielder Coco Johnson, shortstop Sutton Whiting and junior third baseman Ty Young. Earning Third Team All-BIG EAST honors from Louisville were senior second baseman Nick Ratajczak and outfielders Adam Engel and Sturgeon.
Continuing another trend since McDonnell's arrival, Louisville was well represented in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft in 2013 as seven Cardinals were selected during the three-day event. Righthander Dace Kime was taken 79th overall by the Cleveland Indians in the third round of the 40-round draft, Thompson was selected 94th overall in the third round by the Detroit Tigers and Young was taken in the seventh round by the Tampa Bay Rays to close day two. Johnson was taken in the 11th Round by the Miami Marlins, Green was selected in the 11th Round by the Detroit Tigers, lefty Cody Ege was taken in the 15th Round by the Texas Rangers and Engel was selected in the 19th Round by the Chicago White Sox.
The 2012 season was another successful one for Louisville as the Cardinals won another BIG EAST Conference regular season championship and advanced to the NCAA Regional in Tucson. Overall, Louisville finished with a 41-22 record while advancing to the NCAA Regional final before falling to eventual national champion Arizona. Along with the BIG EAST title, a school record 10 Louisville players earned All-BIG EAST honors led by BIG EAST Pitcher of the Year Justin Amlung, who was also a Louisville Slugger Third Team All-America selection. Louisville had five players named Second Team All-BIG EAST in 2012 - first baseman Stewart Ijames, Engel, Gardner, Sturgeon and Thompson. Ruxer became the second Louisville player ever to be named BIG EAST Rookie of the Year and led a foursome of Cardinals to earn Third Team All-BIG EAST accolades. Joining Ruxer on the third team was righty reliever Derek Self, second Ratajczak and Young.
Following the season, Louisville had a trio of right-handed pitchers in Matt Koch, Self and Amlung selected during the 2012 MLB First-Year Player Draft. Koch was selected 107th overall by the New York Mets in the third round of the 40-round, three-day draft. He was followed by Self, who was taken 294th overall in the ninth round by the Washington Nationals, and Amlung, who was selected 374th overall in the 12th round by the Chicago Cubs.
In 2011, Louisville had four players earn All-BIG EAST honors - second baseman Ryan Wright (First Team), pitcher Justin Amlung (First Team), outfielder Stewart Ijames (Second Team) and pitcher Tony Zych (Third Team). Following the season, three Cardinals signed with professional teams after being selected in the 2011 MLB Draft as Zych was taken in the fourth round by the Chicago Cubs, Wright was selected in the fifth round by the Cincinnati Reds and catcher J.J. Ethel was taken in the 49th round by the Los Angeles Dodgers. Two other Cardinals, Amlung and pitcher Derek Self, elected to return to Louisville after being drafted.
The 2010 season included the Cardinals earning the program's first ever national seed (#7) for the NCAA Championships, a second straight NCAA Regional at Jim Patterson Stadium, a second straight BIG EAST regular season title and the new school record in wins. Four Cardinals - pitchers Neil Holland and Thomas Royse, second baseman Ryan Wright and third baseman Phil Wunderlich - earned All-American honors, while Royse was named BIG EAST Pitcher of the Year, the third different Louisville player to win the league honor in four years. Overall, eight Louisville players earned All-BIG EAST accolades as first baseman Andrew Clark, Holland and Wright joined Royse on the first team, while catcher Jeff Arnold, shortstop Adam Duvall, Ijames and Wunderlich earned second-team honors.
Following the completion of the 2010 season, Louisville had school-record 10 players selected in the 2010 MLB Draft, while Wright became the second Louisville player in two seasons to play for the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team. He was Team USA's top everyday hitter at .361 overall to go with 18 runs scored, a pair of home runs and 12 RBI. Wright made 17 starts in 19 games overall and was named the top designated hitter at the 2010 World University Baseball Championships.
The Cardinals, who earned 40 regular-season wins for the first time in school history in 2009, were led that season by All-American third baseman and BIG EAST Player of the Year Chris Dominguez, All-American left-handed pitcher and BIG EAST Pitcher of the Year Justin Marks and Wunderlich, an All-American utility player and an All-BIG EAST selection. Joining that trio as All-BIG EAST selections in 2009 were Royse (Second Team), Clark (Second Team) and Duvall (Third Team), while Clark also earned the Jack Kaiser Award as the Most Outstanding Player of the BIG EAST Championship.
Following the season, Louisville had three players from the 2009 team as well as five signees selected in the MLB Draft. Leading the way were Dominguez, who was selected in the third round by the San Francisco Giants, and Marks, a third-round selection by the Oakland A's.
The offseason was also a busy one for McDonnell, who served as an assistant coach for the 2009 USA National Baseball Team, which won the World Baseball Challenge and finished with an impressive 19-5 record overall. The Cards' head coach was joined on Team USA by Zych, who worked out of the US bullpen throughout the summer, as well as Cards' catcher Justin Haywood (bullpen catcher for Team USA) and former U of L strength and conditioning coach Eric Hammer (strength coach for Team USA).
The 2008 season featured the continued rise of Dominguez as one of the nation's top players as he was named to five All-America teams, earned BIG EAST Co-Player of the Year honors and was named MVP of the BIG EAST Tournament. Joining Dominguez with All-BIG EAST honors in 2008 were catcher Derrick Alfonso (First Team), Marks (First Team), Clark (Second Team), Ijames (Third Team), second baseman Justin McClanahan (Third Team) and B.J. Rosenberg (Third Team). Marks was named Third Team All-America by two publications in 2008.
Overall, the Cardinals won 41 games in 2008 to earn back-to-back 40-win seasons for the first time in school history and earn back-to-back NCAA Championship bids for the first time in the program's history. Following the season, the Cards also had five players from the 2008 squad and four signees selected in the MLB Draft. Leading the way was Dominguez, a fifth-round pick by the Colorado Rockies who elected to return to Louisville for his junior season.
The first season under McDonnell was more than just the first trip to Omaha in school history as five different players were named to All-America teams. A school-record nine players were named to the All-BIG EAST teams, including three first-team selections and five members of the second team. Senior Zack Pitts was named BIG EAST Pitcher of the Year and Justin Marks was tabbed as BIG EAST Freshman of the Year. Overall, the Cardinals did not lose three straight games and only lost consecutive games five times in 2007.
U of L finished the 2007 season ranked 6th or 7th in all five major college baseball polls. The team set 20 individual career and single-season records as well as U of L team records for at bats, doubles, stolen bases, wins, innings pitched and strikeouts. Six players and four signees were tabbed in the 2007 MLB Draft, including Trystan Magnuson, who was selected 56th overall - the highest pick in school history. Seven players played pro ball following the `07 season.
In the 12 team categories ranked statistically by the NCAA, the Cards were in the top 62 in 11 of them, the top 50 in nine categories and the top 10 in two. Twenty-six individuals ranked in the top 100 nationally and 16 in the top 50. The Cards were second in the nation in steals and senior Boomer Whiting won the NCAA stolen base crown with his BIG EAST-record 73.
Winning is nothing new to McDonnell. In McDonnell's 31 seasons in NCAA baseball as a player and coach, teams he has been a part of have averaged 41 wins per season and have advanced to an NCAA Regional in 22 of those seasons, including 17 of the last 18.
As the top assistant and recruiting coordinator for Mike Bianco at the University of Mississippi for six seasons prior to taking over as head coach at Louisville, McDonnell and the Rebels had four top-20 recruiting classes and three groups that ranked in the top 10 nationally. The first full recruiting class for the Rebels under McDonnell's direction was ranked No. 6 in the nation by Collegiate Baseball. In each of his last two seasons with the Rebels, Ole Miss was one win away from advancing to Omaha.
His recruiting classes produced three first-team Freshman All-Americans, one second-team Freshman All-American and two honorable mention Freshman All-Americans. Former Rebel outfielder Seth Smith, who played for the Colorado Rockies in the 2007 MLB World Series, was the SEC Freshman of the Year in 2002 and first baseman/left-handed pitcher Stephen Head earned the honor in 2003. Head was also selected as one of four National Freshmen of the Year by Collegiate Baseball in 2003.
As the Rebels' infield coach, McDonnell helped coach Head to All-America honors in 2003, 2004 and 2005 to become the first three-time All-American in school history. Head also earned SEC Co-Player of the Year honors in 2004 and was a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award, the most prestigious in college baseball.
A pair of Ole Miss infielders signed and coached by McDonnell, Zack Cozart and Justin Henry were tabbed in the 2007 MLB Draft (second and ninth rounds, respectively). Four of McDonnell's signees and players in his final two seasons at Ole Miss competed in the USA Baseball trials, including Cozart, who was the everyday shortstop for the Cincinnati Reds in 2012.
In the five seasons that preceded McDonnell's arrival at Ole Miss, the team averaged just 28 wins per season and finished no higher than fifth in the SEC Western Division. In his six seasons in Oxford, the team averaged just over 40 wins per season and finished in the top three on four occasions, winning the 2006 SEC Tournament and sharing the 2005 regular season title.
Infielders Josh Christian, Cooper Osteen, Brian Pettway, Jon Swearingen, Matt Tolbert and Head have all advanced to play professional baseball following their tutelage under McDonnell. Head and Pettway were both First Team All-America selections in 2005, while Head was joined by Smith on the US National Team that took home the silver medal in the 2003 Pan American Games.
In the 2005 MLB Draft, Ole Miss was the only team in the nation with four players selected in the top 100. A total of 21 Mississippi players were drafted during McDonnell's final three seasons in Oxford, including six Rebels in the 2006 Draft.
Before his arrival in Oxford, Miss., McDonnell was an assistant and recruiting coordinator at his alma mater, The Citadel, for eight seasons. The Bulldogs advanced to four NCAA Regionals and won five Southern Conference titles during that span. He was the top assistant from 1995-2000.
Primarily working with the Bulldog infielders and hitters, McDonnell also worked with the baserunners, establishing a conference record for steals in a single season in 2000 with 198 in 240 attempts over 59 games. The Citadel was paced by junior outfielder Chris Morris, who led the nation with 84 bags.
During his playing days for the Bulldogs, McDonnell earned four letters, helping The Citadel to the 1990 College World Series, marking the first time a military school has made the trip to Omaha. He was a member of the All-Atlantic Regional team in Miami that same season.
As a second baseman, he was named first-team All-Southern Conference as a junior. He finished his career as the league's all-time leader in stolen bases with 99, a total that now places him fourth in school history. He is the school's all-time leader in walks, picking up 185 bases on balls, and is ninth in runs scored in Bulldog history with 165.
McDonnell graduated from The Citadel in 1992 and later completed his master's degree in business administration in 1995. He is married to the former Julie Anne Underwood of Charlotte, N.C. The couple has two sons, Jake and Justin.
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