Aug. 1, 2003
Former Stetson pitching coach and recruiting coordinator Terry Rooney has joined the Notre Dame baseball coaching staff as an assistant coach, head coach Paul Mainieri announced today. Rooney’s primary role with the Irish will be serving as the coach for the program’s highly-regarded pitching staff. He also will combine with second-year Notre Dame assistant and recruiting coordinator David Grewe in all aspects of the recruiting process. Rooney replaces Brian O’Connor, now head coach at the University of Virginia after nine years on the Notre Dame staff.
Rooney has served as the pitching coach with four Division I programs – George Washington, James Madison, Old Dominion and Stetson – in addition to serving as recruiting coordinator during four of the previous five seasons. The 29-year-old native of Fairfax County, Va., spent the past two seasons at Stetson, with the Hatters ranked in the national top 25 for much of the 2003 season before knocking off one of the nation’s elite teams, Georgia Tech, in the NCAA Regionals.
Rooney’s recruiting skills and guidance as a pitching coach have combined to yield several noteworthy success stories in recent years. In each of the previous six seasons, at least one of his former pitchers (and 10 overall) has gone on to sign a professional contract despite not being drafted out of high school – with that group including four selected in the first 10 rounds of the Major League draft. Four of his team’s recruiting classes have been ranked among the national leaders, with the incoming group at Stetson also likely to be highly-ranked on the national level.
“Terry Rooney is a tremendous addition to our staff. There aren’t many coaches you could say would be a smooth transition from Brian O’Connor’s tenure at Notre Dame, but Terry is exactly the type of coach and person who can carry on that level of success,” says Mainieri. “He has mapped out his pitching plan and it is similar in many aspects to what Brian teaches – he has a specific plan that I feel will be very productive for our pitchers.
“Every place that Terry has worked, his pitching staffs have performed tremendously,” adds Mainieri. “He has a way about him that helps players develop to their full potential. He also had the chance to work with two legendary coaches who I respect tremendously, in Tony Guzzo at Old Dominion and Pete Dunn at Stetson. They both feel that Terry is one of the really bright young coaches in the country.
“Terry also brings a wealth of experience as a former recruiting coordinator and he has observed and recruited some of the top players in the country – in addition to having a great eye for noticing some of the less-heralded players who projected into great college performers and eventual pro signees. He and David Grewe will team together to form one of the outstanding recruiting tandems in the country.”
Rooney’s two years at Stetson (the last as both pitching coach and recruiting coordinator) included a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances and 40-win seasons, with four of his pitchers earning all-Atlantic Sun Conference honors. The 2003 staff posted a 4.43 season ERA and .290 opponent batting average, with a 2-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio (391/191) in 541 innings. The season highlight came in NCAA Regional action at Georgia Tech, when Adam Blair’s career-high 10 strikeouts and five hits allowed over 8.1 innings helped knock off the seventh-ranked Yellow Jackets (4-3). The Hatters then lost the regional title game to eventual College World Series participant South Carolina. A team-record five Stetson players were selected in the 2003 MLB draft, including pitchers Roger Lincoln (a former walk-on) and Mike Wiley.
The 2002 Stetson pitching staff racked up 422 strikeouts (one shy of the team record) and was led by double-digit winners Lincoln and Wiley. Lincoln’s 12 wins ranked second in the Stetson record book and he went on to earn all-Atlantic Region honors. Rooney’s two seasons at Old Dominion (2000-01) included a trip to the 2000 NCAAs, as a No. 2 regional seed. He assembled a 2000 recruiting class (for the ’01 season) that was nationally-ranked by Collegiate Baseball magazine and four of the pitchers that he coached at ODU went on to pro baseball. Rooney also recruited current Monarchs ace Justin Verlandeer, a top-rated pro prospect who has starred with the USA National Team in 2003.
His two seasons at James Madison (1998-99) included a pair of nationally-ranked recruiting classes, with Rooney first assuming the joint role of pitching coach and recruiting coach in 1999. Two of his pitchers at JMU went on to be selected in the first 10 rounds of the MLB draft, despite not being drafted out of high school.
“I’m extremely excited to be joining the Notre Dame staff and to be working with Paul Mainieri, who is one of the most well-respected coaches in the country,” says Rooney. “I’ve spent the past few years working at schools where academics were a high priority and look forward to continuing being part of a university and baseball program that prides itself on excellence both on the field and in the classroom.
“I was privileged to work the past two years alongside one of the nation’s great coaches in Pete Dunn. He taught me so much about college baseball and those are things that I hope to carry with me to Notre Dame,” adds Rooney. “I also have great respect for the job done by Brian O’Connor during the past nine years and am eager to maintain that standard of excellence.
“As a pitching staff, we will focus on the things we can control, such as being mechanically-sound, advantage counts, high first-pitch strike percentages and controlling the running game. If we can master these elements, we’ll be competitive in most games.”
Rooney’s first collegiate coaching experience began in 1997 at George Washington University, after completing his playing career at Radford (Va.) University. Rooney also has extensive experience coaching in NCAA-sanctioned summer wood-bat leagues, including head coaching duties for the Waynesboro Generals squad that won the 1998 Shenandoah Valley League title. He was an assistant for Valley League champion Staunton in 1996 and spent 1997 with Cotuit of the Cape Cod League.
An instructor and a speaker at several baseball clinics, Rooney also authored a pitching video produced by Championship Books and Videos, entitled “30 Minutes to Better Pitching: A Championship Workout.”
A 1996 Radford graduate with a bachelor of science degree in social science, Rooney ranks second in the Radford record book with 79 career pitching appearances while posting an 8-2 record in three seasons. He also played one season at Davis & Elkins (W.Va.) College, posting a 4-2 record.