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Canisius Baseball Coach Mike McRae Signs Multi-Year Extenstion

Canisius College director of athletics Bill Maher announced today that baseball coach Mike McRae has signed a multi-year contract extension, to continue as head coach of the Golden Griffin baseball program through the 2011 season.

McRae, the 2008 MAAC Anaconda Sports Coach of the Year, has taken the Canisius baseball program from a 4-43 record in 2004, the year before he arrived, to a 41-13 record in 2008. He became the first coach in league history to win the award at two schools as McRae also won the award in 2003 at Niagara. McRae led the Golden Griffins to a breakout season in 2007 as Canisius made its first MAAC playoff appearance since 1994. Canisius won its second MAAC regular-season title in school history in 2008, claimed its first-ever postseason victory in the 2008 MAAC Tournament and has made back-to-back MAAC Tournament appearances for the first time.

“In just four seasons, Mike has turned our baseball program into one of the best in the conference, and it has gained recognition on the national level,” Maher said. “Mike and his staff convey a tireless work ethic to their players, who found an unprecedented level of success for our baseball program in 2008. This is a very deserving step for Mike and our program, and I have no doubt that the future is bright for the Canisius College baseball program.”

Canisius baseball jumped onto the national scene in 2008 with a 21.5-game improvement in its won-loss record from 2007 (20-35), the biggest improvement in the country and second biggest in the NCAA during the past 11 seasons. Canisius was one of 31 teams in NCAA Division I with 40-plus victories and one of four teams in the country with 13 or fewer losses. Canisius, along with Miami, Kentucky, Oklahoma State and North Carolina, was one of five programs at the Division I level to finish in the top 50 in scoring, earned run average and fielding percentage.

“I would like to thank Father Cooke, Bill Maher and the Canisius administration for the confidence they’re showing with this contract,” McRae said. “The Canisius baseball program has made significant strides during the past four years, which makes me proud, and I’m really looking forward to our promising future.”

On the individual level, Canisius had its first two All-Americans in program history as Shane Davis received a total of eight All-America and Freshman All-America honors while Kevin Mailloux was named an All-American by the American Baseball Coaches Association. Davis became the first player in league history to earn Pitcher of the Year and Rookie of the Year in the same season. Davis also gave Canisius the MAAC Rookie of the Year for the second consecutive season as Ian Choy won the award in 2007. Choy was the first player in program history to win the award. Two incoming freshmen were selected in the 2008 Major League Baseball Draft — Benson Merritt was chosen by the Cincinnati Reds with the fifth pick in the 42nd round (No. 1259 overall), while Nathan Linseman was selected by the Detroit Tigers in the 45th round (No. 1361 overall).

“This is an exciting time for our program, as we approach the start of the 2009 season,” McRae said. “I know we’re on the brink of greater things in the future, and I’m incredibly motivated to get on the field again with our team in the spring.”

McRae was a four-year letterwinner and captain of the 1991 baseball team at Colby College. McRae started as the head coach at Brock University. He was an assistant coach at Niagara, Winthrop and Maine before taking over as the head coach at Niagara in 2002. McRae also has served as an assistant coach for the Canadian National Youth Team and was a guest coach for the Toronto Blue Jays during their 1997 spring training.

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