Notre Dame Baseball: Who Coaches the Team?
Since its inception in 1892, the University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish has been a powerhouse in college athletics. With over 20 NCAA team championships, the Fighting Irish have made a name for themselves in a variety of sports. One of these sports is baseball, and the Notre Dame baseball program has been successful both on and off the field. In fact, the program has produced numerous professional baseball players, including Hall of Famers Lou Brock, Dave Winfield, and Robin Roberts. As Notre Dame continues to strive for excellence in baseball, it is important to know who coaches the team.
Joey Cantillo is the current head coach of the Notre Dame baseball program. He was hired in June of 2020, becoming the 15th head coach in Notre Dame baseball history. Cantillo comes to Notre Dame after spending the previous four seasons as the head coach at Kent State University, where his teams made two NCAA Tournament appearances. At Kent State, Cantillo posted a record of 156-86-1 and was named the 2018 MAC Coach of the Year.
Prior to his time at Kent State, Cantillo spent six seasons as an assistant coach at the University of Virginia, helping the Cavaliers to two NCAA Super Regionals appearances.
The Coaching Staff
In addition to Cantillo, the Notre Dame baseball program has several other coaches. These include:
- Brian O’Connor, Associate Head Coach/Recruiting Coordinator
- Brett Boretti, Assistant Coach/Pitching Coordinator
- Chris Ebright, Assistant Coach/Hitting Coordinator
- Danny Vining, Assistant Coach/Infield Coordinator
- Brian Schmack, Volunteer Assistant Coach
O’Connor is the most experienced coach on the staff, having spent 16 seasons as the head coach at Virginia. During that time, he led the Cavaliers to 12 NCAA Tournament appearances, including three College World Series appearances and one national championship.
Boretti spent the previous five seasons as the head coach at St. John’s University, while Ebright was at Virginia Commonwealth University as an assistant coach for six seasons. Vining was an assistant coach at Kent State for two years prior to joining the Notre Dame staff. Schmack rounds out the staff, having most recently coached at the University of Louisville.
Notre Dame’s History of Success
Notre Dame baseball has a long history of success, and the program has produced numerous Major League Baseball players. The Fighting Irish have made 25 NCAA Tournament appearances, including five College World Series appearances and two national championship game appearances.
Notable alumni include Hall of Famers Lou Brock, Dave Winfield, and Robin Roberts, as well as current MLB players A. J. Pollock, Eric Jagielo, and Pat Neshek.
Recruiting is an important part of any college baseball program, and Notre Dame is no exception. The Fighting Irish have had success in recruiting in recent years, landing several highly-rated players. This year’s recruiting class was ranked 14th nationally according to Baseball America.
Notre Dame has also had success with international players, signing players from Canada, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico.
Notre Dame baseball plays its home games at Frank Eck Stadium, which opened in 2002. The stadium has a seating capacity of 4,000 and features an artificial turf playing surface. The stadium also features an indoor practice facility, batting cages, and a bullpen.
The Fighting Irish also have access to a state-of-the-art training and conditioning facility, as well as a sports medicine center and a nutrition center.
Notre Dame is a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), and the Fighting Irish typically play a challenging schedule. This year, Notre Dame will face off against several top programs, including Florida State, Louisville, and North Carolina. The Fighting Irish will also take on traditional rivals such as Michigan, Ohio State, and Purdue.
Notre Dame’s Rivalries
Notre Dame has several traditional rivals in baseball, including the Michigan Wolverines, Ohio State Buckeyes, and Purdue Boilermakers. The Fighting Irish and Wolverines have one of the most storied rivalries in college baseball, having met over 250 times since their first meeting in 1893.
Notre Dame baseball has a dedicated fan base, and the Fighting Irish have seen an increase in attendance in recent years. The Fighting Irish averaged over 2,000 fans per game in 2019, and that number is expected to increase this season.
The Future of Notre Dame Baseball
The future of Notre Dame baseball is bright, with the program expected to continue to compete for championships in the coming years. The Fighting Irish have a talented and experienced coaching staff, a strong recruiting class, and a passionate fan base. With Joey Cantillo at the helm, the Notre Dame baseball program is in good hands and poised for success in the years to come.