“During his time as head coach, Mike has developed the Canisius College baseball program into exactly that – a program that consistently competes for a conference championship,” Canisius College director of athletics Bill Maher said. “Mike has made this program into one of the most successful in the Northeast region. His players succeed athletically and academically, and we’re excited about the future of the Canisius College baseball program.”
McRae has won 189 games in his seven seasons with the Golden Griffins, including a 142-88 (.617) record in the last four seasons that includes two MAAC regular-season titles. During the last four seasons, Canisius ranks third in the Northeast region and 43rd nationally in total wins.
“I am extremely grateful for the opportunity extended by Bill Maher, John Maddock and President John Hurley. My family and I are happy to keep Western New York as our home – to raise our family in ‘Griff Land,’” McRae said. “We will continue to work hard in our quest to bring a MAAC Championship to Canisius. I look forward to many more fruitful seasons here.”
McRae, the three-time MAAC Coach of the Year, has led Canisius to the postseason in each of the last five seasons. The Golden Griffins won the program’s first postseason game in 2008, played in the title game of the 2009 MAAC Tournament and have advanced to the championship round of the MAAC Tournament in two of the last three seasons – the only two appearances in the championship round in program history.
The Golden Griffins have had eight players associated with the program drafted in the Major League Baseball Draft during the last four seasons, including Sean Jamieson in the 2011 Draft (17th round, Oakland Athletics) and Steve McQuail in the 2010 Draft (30th round, Toronto Blue Jays). Jamieson earned MAAC Male Athlete of the Year honors following his senior season, the first Golden Griffin male athlete to win the award in school history. McQuail was drafted as a junior in 2010, the first Canisius junior to be drafted since 1994. Another player who spent time at Canisius under McRae was John Axford, who pitched for the Golden Griffins during the 2006 season and tied for the National League lead with 46 saves for the Milwaukee Brewers in 2011.
Canisius has had three All-Americans under McRae, the first All-Americans in program history. The Griffs also have had three Capital One Academic All-Americans in the last two years. During the past five seasons, Canisius has won the MAAC Player of the Year (twice), MAAC Coach of the Year (twice), MAAC Rookie of the Year (twice) and MAAC Pitcher of the Year. Canisius has had a conference-best 14 first-team all-MAAC selections to go along with 10 second-team selections in the past four years.
Canisius jumped onto the national scene in 2008, McRae’s fourth season at Canisius, 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 since 1998. Canisius was one of 31 teams in NCAA Division I with 40-plus victories, claiming 41 wins. The team’s .755 winning percentage ranked ninth in the country as the Golden Griffins were one of four teams in the country with 13 or fewer losses. Canisius finished 82nd in the official NCAA RPI.
The Canisius College baseball team begins the 2012 campaign with four neutral-site games at the USA Baseball Complex in Cary, N.C. on Feb. 17-19.