HOUSTON, TX – 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.
2009 – Brian O’Connor, Virginia
2008 – Mike Batesole, Fresno State