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Pittsburgh promotes Danny Lopaze and hire Dan Lipari

University of Pittsburgh head baseball coach Joe Jordano has promoted Danny Lopaze to the position of associate head coach, the program announced Thursday. Additionally, Dan Lipari has been added to the Panthers’ staff as a volunteer assistant for the 2012 season.

Lopaze is set to begin his fourth season on the Pitt coaching staff, serving as the team’s recruiting coordinator and the hitting coach.

“Coach Lopaze has done a great job for us and has shown great loyalty to me and a tremendous amount of passion for our program,” Jordano said. “I am very pleased to be able to elevate him to the position of associate head coach. It is certainly well-deserved and definitely earned.”

Lopaze has helped guide the Panthers to record-breaking seasons in each of his first three years at Pitt. Most recently, Lopaze worked with a powerful offensive attack that ranked first in the BIG EAST in numerous categories. Despite a nationwide drop in power numbers with the introduction of new regulation bats, Pitt continued to produce one of the most electric and dangerous lineups in the country.

The 2011 team produced the most MLB draft picks selected in a single season with six. Four sluggers (Kevan Smith, David Chester, John Schultz and Travis Whitmore) were all taken in the entry draft.

On three different occasions in 2011, a Panthers’ slugger was named BIG EAST Player of the Week. In addition, five hitters were named to All-BIG EAST teams. Chester and Smith were first team selections while Schultz was named to the second team and junior transfer Anthony Defabio and freshman Casey Roche nabbed third team honors.

Lopaze helped lead the Pitt offense as it set or tied six team hitting records in 2010, finishing second in the country in batting average (.363) and fifth in runs scored (9.5 per game). Every player in the starting lineup hit over .320 while Joe Leonard, John Schultz and Sean Toole each batted over .400 — marking the first time in Pitt history three players surpassed the .400 mark in a single season. Eight players also had at least 44 RBI on the season, which led the Big East.
In Lopaze’s initial season (2009) the Panthers experienced a dramatic turnaround by putting up their best offensive numbers since 2002 with a .307 team batting average, 60 home runs, 340 RBI and a .487 slugging percentage.

Lopaze arrived at Pitt in 2009 from Oakland University where he served as pitching coach, catching coach and also held key recruiting responsibilities for the Golden Grizzlies. He also coached previously at Michigan State

A Lakeridge, Va. native, Lopaze attended Potomac Senior High School where he was named an All-American by Baseball America in 1999. Lopaze was drafted in the 16th round by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays following his senior year. Following his senior season at Potomac, Lopaze played for the Ohio Warhawks, a national powerhouse program under the direction of Ron Slusher. In 2006, Lopaze was inducted into the Potomac High School Hall of Fame.

Lipari comes to Pitt after spending the last two seasons at Youngstown State University, including one year as the team’s top assistant and recruiting coordinator. In his two years with the Penguins, he directed three pitchers to the professional ranks

“Adding Dan Lipari to our staff gives us an individual that has served in various capacities during his career,” Jordano said. ” He brings great enthusiasm and knowledge to our program. I could not be more pleased with this addition.”

While at YSU, Lipari also assisted with coaching the outfielders, administrating the Youngstown State Baseball School, managing the fundraising efforts of the YSU Diamond Club and performing daily operations in the baseball office.

In the summer of 2010, Lipari was the pitching coach for the Brainerd Lakes Area Lunkers of the Northwoods Summer Collegiate League. The Lunkers staff ranked sixth out of 16 teams in the league with a team ERA of 3.85.

Lipari was a three-year letterwinner (2006-08) at Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa. As a senior, he appeared in 22 games, which ranked second on the team, and helped lead Morningside to the GPAC Tournament Championship and a No. 1 seed in the North Dakota Regional Tournament. His 22 outings in 2008 also ranks as the third most in school history for a single season.

Lipari earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Morningside in 2008.

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