– Virginia baseball head coach Brian O’Connor was named the CollegeBaseballInsider.com 2009 National Coach of the Year today, marking his second national coach of the year award this season. He also nabbed the NCBWA National Coach of the Year Award a few weeks ago. Earlier this week, he gleaned ABCA Atlantic Region Coach of the Year honors as well.
The CBI award is the second such honor for O’Connor, who also was named the CBI National Coach of the Year in 2004 following his first season as head coach at Virginia.
O’Connor was selected from a group of five finalists, which included Steve Peterson of Middle Tennessee, John Anderson of Minnesota, Mike Gillespie of UC Irvine and Jim Schlossnagle of TCU.
“As in the previous seven seasons, there were many outstanding candidates for Coach of the Year,” said Phil Stanton, co-founder of CollegeBaseballInsider.com. “Virginia was not a preseason favorite in the ACC, let alone nationally. But Brian O’Connor had the Cavaliers playing their best at the end of the season to make their first trip to Omaha. We congratulate Coach O’Connor and his staff for a tremendous job.”
Virginia posted a 49-15-1 record this year, setting a school record for victories as the Cavaliers earned their first-ever berth in the NCAA College World Series. After an impressive regular season, the Cavaliers rattled off wins against Clemson, North Carolina, Duke and Florida State to win the ACC Baseball Championship as the No. 6 seed.
UVa earned its sixth-consecutive NCAA tournament bid under O’Connor, who 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.
UVa won two of three games in the NCAA Oxford Super Regional against Mississippi to earn a trip to the College World Series, where the Cavaliers made their first-ever appearance with a loss to eventual national champion LSU, a victory over Cal State Fullerton and a 12-inning defeat to Arkansas.
The Cavaliers led the ACC in batting (.327), ERA (3.23) and stolen bases (119), becoming just the second team in league history to lead the conference in all three categories since Maryland did so in 1954 – the first year of existence for the ACC.
O’Connor has posted a 265-104-1 career record at Virginia. In six seasons as the Cavaliers’ skipper, he has led Virginia to NCAA tournament berths each year with five 40-win seasons during that time.