John Russo Named Head Baseball Coach at Hofstra University
(Courtesy of Hofstra University Office of Athletic Communications)
HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. - Hofstra University Interim Director of Athletics Danny McCabe announced this week that John Russo has been named the 14th head coach in Pride baseball history. Russo had been the interim head coach since January following the resignation of former coach Patrick Anderson.
"John has been with the program for four years now," said McCabe. "He has had a hand in recruiting all of the current players on the team, as well as the incoming class for 2013. John has done a great job throughout his tenure, and with the success that the team is having this season he has proven he is the right person for the position."
"I am thrilled at the opportunity to lead the Hofstra Baseball program," said Russo. "I would like to thank President Rabinowitz and Danny McCabe for giving me the chance to be a head coach at the Division I level as it has been a career goal of mine. This season has been great and I have to give credit to our players and staff for the way they handled things. I look forward to not only making the Hofstra Baseball program successful but keeping it that way for many years to come."
Hofstra is currently 28-18 on the season, having set the single season record for wins in a season with a 15-9 win over Northeastern on May 6. Hofstra's 16-8 Colonial Athletic Association mark has the team in second place in the standings. The 16 victories represent a new high in conference wins for the Pride since joining the CAA in 2002, besting the previous mark of 12 set in 2011.
Under Russo's direction in 2012 the Pride has been one of the top offensive teams in the country. Hofstra leads the nation in hits (556), ranks second in the country in batting (.339), doubles (125) and steals (134), third in slugging (.489) and scoring (8.26 runs per game) and fourth in runs (380). Senior outfielder Danny Poma leads the nation in doubles (29), hits (87) and runs (68), and ranks second in batting (.446). Poma is a candidate for the Golden Spikes Award, which is presented to the top amateur player in the nation.
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 returned to coach the Mountaineers during the summer of 2011 and led the team to a 26-16 mark and a spot in the NECBL Playoffs. During his tenure with the Mountaineers, Russo posted a 163-115 record and was the 2005 NECBL Manager of the Year. He 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 has coached five players - David Carpenter (Houston), Darin Mastroianni (Toronto), Rob Delaney (Tampa Bay), Pollock and Friedrich - that have been on the 40-man rosters of their respective teams, with all but Friedrich having made their Major League debuts.
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 11 years and have four children - Hailey (8), Lainey (6) and twins Palmer and Chase, who were born in September 2011. The Russo family resides in East Meadow, New York.
In addition to naming Russo head coach, McCabe also announced that Assistant Coach Kelly Haynes has been promoted and will serve as Russo's top assistant and recruiting coordinator.