FROM CBD NEWS SOURCE
Hempstead, NY – Hofstra University Vice President and Director of Athletics Jeffrey A. Hathaway announced today that Head Baseball Coach John Russo has signed a long-term contract.
“I am thrilled that Coach Russo will continue to lead our baseball program,” commented Hathaway. “John did a wonderful job leading the team to unprecedented heights last season and we look forward to continued academic and athletic success under his leadership in the years to come.”
“I would like to thank President Rabinowitz and Director of Athletics Jeff Hathaway as I am honored to be given the opportunity to lead the Hofstra Baseball program,” said Russo. “With this honor comes great responsibility and obligation. Winning baseball games must not come at the expense of the mission, principles and goals of this great academic institution. It is my obligation to recruit upstanding young men that will excel on the athletic field and in the classroom. My first goal for any player in this program will be to earn a degree from Hofstra University. Of all the achievements garnered by this program in the last year, I am most proud of our team grade point average ( 3.25) that was earned this past fall, as well as having Hofstra’s second ever Rhodes Scholar finalist, Joe Burg, on our roster. I have a lot of great people that surround me – from my assistant coaches, the players, our support staff within the department, and certainly great alumni and supporters. This is why I am excited and feel confident I can run a successful Division I baseball program at Hofstra University.”
The 14th head coach in program history, Russo is coming off a stellar 2012 season in which he led the team to a school record 34 wins and the #2 seed in the Colonial Athletic Association Championship with a 20-10 conference mark. Russo had been the interim coach in 2012, but had the interim tag removed in early May.
In addition to the team’s 34 wins, the Pride set seven other team records including runs (447), hits (669), doubles (145), stolen bases (157), ERA (5.37), strikeouts (349) and double plays (65).
Under Russo’s direction in 2012 the Pride was one of the top offensive teams in the country. Hofstra ranked in the top 10 in 11 offensive categories, leading the nation in doubles (2.59) and stolen bases (2.80) per game while finishing second in batting (.334) and total steals (157). Senior outfielder Danny Poma, who was a 10th-round selection by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the MLB Draft, led the nation in doubles (32) and ranked second in batting (.430) and runs (78). Poma, who was the CAA Player of the Year, would earn several All-America accolades for his play in 2012, and joined Jared Hammer and Matt Ford on the All-East Region team as well.
Russo, who has served as recruiting coordinator and infield coach as well as the third base coach, joined the Pride in 2008 after spending the previous five summers as the manager of the Vermont Mountaineers of the New England Collegiate Baseball League, leading the team to back-to-back NECBL championships in 2006 and 2007.
Russo has coached more than 60 players who were selected in the MLB Draft, including Christian Friedrich (2008 first round pick by the Colorado Rockies) and A.J. Pollock (2009 first round selection by the Arizona Diamondbacks). Entering the 2012 Major League Baseball season, he had coached five players – David Carpenter (Boston), Darin Mastroianni (Minnesota), Rob Delaney (Miami), Pollock and Friedrich – that have been on the 40-man rosters of their respective teams.
From 2001 to 2005, Russo served as assistant coach at Saint Joseph’s College in Rensselaer, Indiana. In his role as infield coach, St. Joseph’s led its conference in fielding and ranked in the top 10 nationally three times during his four seasons. Russo also monitored the academic progress of his team, which compiled an overall GPA of 3.1 during his tenure.
Russo began his career in 1998 as hitting coach at the University of West Alabama, helping the team set nine individual and team batting records in his three seasons.
A 2000 graduate of West Alabama with a degree in secondary education and a concentration in physical education, Russo was a teacher and athletic director in the Millburn School District in Wadsworth, Illinois, from 2005 to 2008.
Russo and his wife, Stacey, have been married for 12 years and have four children – Hailey (9), Lainey (6) and twins Palmer and Chase (1). The Russo family resides in East Meadow, New York.