Hendry and O'Connor join national team staff
Omaha, Neb. -- Two members of Creighton baseball's 1991 College World Series team will reunite as former head coach Jim Hendry and player Brian O'Connor were each named assistant coaches for the 2018 Collegiate National Team Coaching Staff.
USA Baseball announced the 2018 Collegiate National Team coaching staff on Tuesday. LSU's Paul Mainieri was named the manager of the Collegiate team last October and he will be joined by assistant coaches Cliff Godwin (ECU), Jim Hendry (New York Yankees), Brian O'Connor (Virginia) and Jorge Perez (St. Thomas) in 2018.
All four assistant coaches will make their USA Baseball National Team coaching debuts with this year's team, while 2018 will be Mainieri's second coaching appearance for Team USA after serving as a Collegiate National Team assistant coach in 2015.
Mainieri begins his 12th season at the helm of LSU and has posted a 512-202-3 record (.716) since arriving in Baton Rouge in 2007. He was named the Southeastern Conference (SEC) Coach of the Year in 2009 and 2015, and has led the Tigers to 29 team championships, including an NCAA title, five Super Regional championships, seven NCAA Regional championships, six SEC Tournament titles, four SEC championships and six SEC Western Division crowns.
New York Yankees special assignment scout Jim Hendry joins the staff as the 2018 bench coach. Prior to his time with the Yankees, Hendry served as the Chicago Cubs General Manager from 2002-2012. In addition to his time as GM, he worked in numerous front office positions during his time with the Cubs, including serving as farm director, scouting director and assistant GM. Hendry has also coached at the high school, college and minor league levels. He was the head coach at Creighton University from 1984-1991 and was named National Coach of the Year by Baseball America after leading his team to the College World Series for the first, and only, time in school history.
O'Connor, who is entering his 15th season as the head coach at the University of Virginia, will serve as the 2018 Collegiate National Team's pitching coach. A five-time ACC Coach of the Year and three-time national coach of the year, he has led the Cavaliers to 14 straight NCAA tournament appearances, including the program's first National Championship in 2015. As a member of Hendry's Creighton team that made it to the College World Series in 1991, O'Connor is one of just a handful of coaches that have both played and coached in the CWS. His 639-239-2 record at UVA gives him the third-highest winning percentage of all current head coaches in Division I baseball (72.7 percent) and he was the second fastest ACC coach to 500 career wins.
After serving as a coach at the 2017 USA Baseball 14U National Team Development Program, Cliff Godwin will make his national team coaching debut as the 2018 Collegiate National Team's hitting coach and third base coach. Godwin is entering his fourth year at the helm of East Carolina University, where he has guided the Pirates to two NCAA Regionals and one Super Regional berth (2016), and a 110-72-1 record. Godwin was named the 2015 AAC Coach of the Year after becoming the first coach in ECU history to win 40 games in his first season and guiding his team to a conference tournament title and an NCAA Regional appearance. In addition to his time at ECU, Godwin has served at six other Division I institutions, including as an assistant coach at Ole Miss, LSU, Notre Dame and UNC Wilmington, as well as the associate head coach at Central Florida and the Director of Baseball Operations at Vanderbilt.
St. Thomas University Head Coach, Jorge Perez, joins the 2018 staff as an assistant coach and first base coach. Now entering his tenth season with the Bobcats, Perez boasts a 313-213 record, and six appearances in the NAIA National Championship Opening Round, including a runner-up finish at the NAIA World Series in 2015 – the best finish in school history. Perez also served as the head coach at Gulliver Preparatory School and South Dade Senior High School, accumulating an 80-54 record, prior to his time at St. Thomas.
The 2018 Collegiate National Team will train at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina, and compete against teams in the Coastal Plain League from June 26-27, before hosting the 18th USA vs. Chinese Taipei International Friendship Series from June 28-July 2. All seven of these games will be streamed live on USABaseball.com and Facebook Live.
The team will then host the 42nd USA vs. Japan Collegiate All-Star Series from July 3-9. University of Pittsburgh Head Coach, Joe Jordano, will serve as the official technical commissioner for the series. Jordano is entering his 21st season at the helm for the Panthers and currently ranks among the top-25 active winnings Division I coaches. Finally, Team USA will travel to Cuba for the 7th Annual USA vs. Cuba International Friendship Series that will take place July 13-18.