COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Kansas State associate head coach John Szefc has been hired as the new head baseball coach at the University of Maryland, director of athletics Kevin Anderson announced Wednesday.
Szefc (pronounced CHEF), who is the seventh head coach in the 120-year history of the program, comes to Maryland with a proven track record as a recruiter and hitting coach. The Middletown, N.Y., native has served as recruiting coordinator at his last three stops and owns ties to the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast corridors.
Szefc also brings head coaching experience, having led Marist College to four conference championships and three NCAA Regional appearances in a seven-year stint from 1996-2002.
“I’m excited about this wonderful opportunity to lead the Maryland baseball program,” said Szefc. “I’d like to thank Kevin Anderson and the search committee for their confidence in me. We have a strong core group of players already in place at Maryland and I see great things for the future of our program.”
“John has been successful in every position he’s held during his 22-year coaching career,” said Anderson. “He has proven himself as a successful head coach and a recruiter and developer of top talent. I have no doubt that John will do an outstanding job leading our baseball program.”
Szefc, who has coached 69 players that have been drafted or signed professional contracts since 1997, brings an aggressive offensive style. He helped lead Kansas State to a NCAA Regional in 2011, when the Wildcats led the Big 12 in stolen bases with 123 while placing 10th in school history with 564 hits on the year.
Szefc came to Manhattan after a two-year stint at the University of Kansas where he was the team’s hitting coach and recruiting coordinator. While in Lawrence, Szefc helped lead the Jayhawks to two Big 12 Championship appearances and a NCAA Regional berth during his first season in 2009.
With Szefc’s guidance, the Jayhawks made a 17-point improvement in overall team batting average from .287 in 2008 to .304 in 2010. In Big 12 games in 2010, Kansas hit .305, which ranked second in the conference, while it led the league in base hits (304), and finished second in runs scored (195) and walks (115) during league play.
Prior to his position at Kansas, Szefc was the head assistant coach at Louisiana-Lafayette from 2003-08, running an aggressive-style Ragin’ Cajun offense that saw a dramatic 60-point jump in batting average during his first three years. Three of his team’s batting averages still rank in the top five of Louisiana history and his 2005 squad set a school record for hits and finished second in school history in runs scored and RBI. The 2002 team tied the school record with 145 stolen bases.
Szefc posted a 212-137-1 record as the skipper for Marist, leading the Red Foxes to their first baseball title as a member of the Northeast Conference in 1997. He also guided Marist to three more NCAA Tournament appearances in 2000, 2001 and 2002, including a 41-14 record during his final year at the school. The 2002 squad claimed a victory over Southwest Missouri State in the NCAA Lincoln Regional, while five of Szefc’s players on that team went on to be selected in the MLB Draft.
Szefc won multiple awards as a head coach as he was named the 1997 NEC Coach of the year, while he earned American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) Northeast Region Coach of the Year honors in 2001.
In his career, he has coached in 24 NCAA Regional games, coached and developed 13 All-Americans, and accumulated a 571-382 overall record as an assistant and head coach.
Before his arrival at Marist, Szefc spent one season with Sacred Heart University and four years as an assistant coach with his alma mater, Drexel, from 1990-94.
Szefc managed the New York Generals in the Atlantic College Baseball League (ACBL) during the summers of 1995 and 1996, guiding the club to a 47-28 record in two seasons, two consecutive Kaiser Division championships and the ACBL championship game in 1996.
Szefc played collegiately for two years at Connecticut before transferring in 1987 to Drexel. During his senior campaign for the Dragons, he was tabbed an All-East Coast Conference outfielder.
Szefc graduated from Drexel University with a degree in corporate communications in 1989. He also holds a master’s degree in sports administration from Temple University.
He and his wife, Barbara, have a daughter, Anna, and two sons, John Michael and Sam.
The Szefc File
2011-12 – associate head coach, Kansas State University
2009-10 – assistant coach/recruiting coordinator, University of Kansas
2003-08 – assistant coach/recruiting coordinator, Louisiana-Lafayette
1996-2002 – head coach, Marist College
1995 – assistant coach, Sacred Heart University
1990-94 – assistant coach, Drexel University
1988-89 – Drexel University (All-East Coast Conference in ’89)
1986-87 – University of Connecticut
1989 – Bachelor of Science, Corporate Communications, Drexel University
1992 – Master of Physical Education, concentration in sport management, Temple University
Wife, Barbara, and children: Anna, John Michael and Sam.