Oh my! O’Sullivan for UF baseball

Clemson pitching coach Kevin O’Sullivan is rumored to be hired as the next Florida baseball coach after interviewing and touring the facilities at UF, according to multiple sources close to the Gators baseball program.

UF Athletics Director Jeremy Foley flew up to South Carolina early Wednesday morning to meet with O’Sullivan. They both flew back to Gainesville later Wednesday afternoon.

A press conference will be held at UF on Thursday morning.

O’Sullivan would replace former coach Pat McMahon, who was fired Foley last week, after the Gators failed to play in the NCAA tournament for two consecutive years.

McMahon took over the head coaching position at Florida in June of 2001 and compiled a record of 231-143-1 (.617) during his six seasons directing the Gators. Florida advanced to the NCAA Tournament in four of six years under his guidance and finished as the runner-up at the 2005 College World Series. During his tenure, UF claimed the first two Super Regional berths in school history, a pair of Regional Championships and one SEC crown.

In 2005, McMahon was named the College Baseball Foundation National Coach of the Year, ABCA South Region of the Year and the SEC Coach of the Year. There were 61 Academic All-SEC selections at Florida over his first five seasons (the 2007 recipients have yet to be released) and 31 Major League Baseball Draft choices, including recent first-round pick Matt LaPorta.

The 2007 Clemson squad finished the regular season ranked No. 5 in the nation, before being knocked out of the NCAA tournament by Mississippi State in the Starkville Super Regional. The Tigers ended their season with a 41-23 record.

The hiring would bring in a coach without experience as head coach, although O’Sullivan has served as Associate Head Coach at Clemson in 2002 in addition to being the recruiting coordinator for the Tigers. O’Sullivan has also been the pitching coach for the past nine seasons at Clemson.

A Jupiter, Fla. Native, O’Sullivan graduated (with honors) from Virginia with a bachelor’s degree in education/sports medicine in 1991. He was a member of Virginia’s Captain Council and Student-Athlete Mentor Program. He earned a master’s degree in exercise science & wellness from Florida Atlantic.

O’Sullivan starred at Virginia as a catcher in 1990 and 1991, where he hit a combined .351. He was a First-Team All-ACC and All-ACC Tourney pick both years. He made the ACC Academic Honor Roll in 1990 as well. He also played for Florida Community College in 1988 and 1989. O’Sullivan was born December 27, 1968 in Goshen, NY.

O’Sullivan was been a part of eight NCAA Tourney teams and three College World Series squads while at Clemson. O’Sullivan, who has made two instructional pitching videos, has also seen 28 of his Tiger pitchers sign professional contracts in his eight years.

In his first season at Clemson, “Sully” fine-tuned Mike Paradis from having control problems his first two seasons to a first-round pick in 1999. He helped Ryan Mottl go 10-4 in 2000 and total 33 career wins, the third-most in school history. Those totals helped Mottl become a sixth-round pick by the Cincinnati Reds.

Under his guidance in 2001, Clemson had a 2.27 strikeout-to-walk ratio, fourth-best in school history. One of his pitchers, Steve Reba, led the ACC in wins in 2001 with a 12-3 record. Clemson has been among the national leaders in team ERA each of the last seven years, and his ability to work with and develop young pitchers has been praised by Head Coach Jack Leggett.

He followed up 2001 with a 2002 season that saw Reba and Matt Henrie shine. They had 13 wins apiece and both earned All-America honors. O’Sullivan helped mold Reba and Henrie into a formidable one-two punch that led the Tigers to a third-place national finish. Henrie was drafted in the seventh round after going undrafted out of high school.

The 2002 team also featured B.J. LaMura, a hard-throwing righthander who was instrumental in Clemson’s late-season surge. LaMura was a fifth-round draft pick, giving Clemson five pitchers from the 2002 squad who signed Major League contracts. And that total does not include Jarrod Schmidt, who had an 18-3 career record at Clemson and signed as well. The 2002 team also set an ACC record for saves (26) in a season.

The 2003 team did not have any stars, but all five Tigers with at least 36.0 innings pitched had an ERA between 3.19 and 4.30.

The 2004 squad featured All-ACC reliever Patrick Hogan, who became just the third Tiger in history to record double-digits in saves. He coached Tyler Lumsden, who was a first-round draft pick in 2004, as well. He also helped convert Collin Mahoney from a catcher to a hard-throwing reliever. Mahoney, who had not pitched since high school, saw considerable action in 2004 and threw in the high 90s. He was a fourth-round draft pick by the Detroit Tigers.

The 2005 Tiger pitching staff came into its own in the season’s late stages. The Tigers had a 3.94 ERA, Clemson’s best mark in nine years. Josh Cribb and Stephen Faris were stoppers on the mound. Cribb pitched two shutouts and had a 97-24 strikeout-to-walk ratio, while Faris had a team-best 2.60 ERA to earn Second-Team All-ACC honors.

His 2006 staff was sixth in the nation in ERA (3.26) and featured the weekend rotation of Faris, Cribb, and Jason Berken, who combined for a 27-6 record and 2.85 ERA. The trio was instrumental in leading the Tigers to the ACC Championship, a trip to Omaha, and a #5 final ranking in all three polls. Daniel Moskos also had 10 saves and became an effective closer under the direction of O’Sullivan.

A school-record 11 Tigers were selected in the 2007 Major League Baseball Draft on Thursday and Friday, breaking the previous record of 10 in 2006. The Tigers’ 11 draft picks tied for the second-most in the nation.

Junior lefthander Daniel Moskos was the #4 overall selection in the first round by the Pirates and was the first of five Tigers selected in the first three rounds.

Clemson led all Division I programs with its five players taken in the first three rounds. Tennessee and Arkansas tied for second with three picks in the top three rounds, while 11 other schools had two picks.

Taken in the second round was junior righthander David Kopp with the #71 overall pick by the Cardinals. Junior outfielder Brad Chalk was selected later in the second round with the #87 overall pick by the Padres.

In the third round, a pair of righty relievers were chosen. Junior Alan Farina was the #115 overall pick by the Blue Jays, then senior Stephen Clyne was the #123 overall selection by the Mets.

The Tigers had six more players taken in day-two of the draft. Senior third-baseman Marquez Smith was drafted in the eighth round (#247 overall pick) by the Cubs. Six picks later in the eighth round (#253 overall), junior infielder Taylor Harbin was taken by the Diamondbacks.

In the 16th round, junior catcher Doug Hogan was drafted with the #497 overall pick by the Indians. In the 19th round, senior first-baseman Andy D’Alessio was taken with the #584 overall pick by the Giants.

Junior righthander P.J. Zocchi was drafted in the 36th round (#1092 overall pick) by the Indians, then junior shortstop Stan Widmann was selected in the 39th round (#1187 overall pick) by the Athletics.

Clemson’s 11 draft picks in 2007 were also the most-ever in any sport in Clemson history. In 2006, Clemson’s 10 draft picks were the second-most in the nation as well.

O’Sullivan has also had numerous top-25 recruiting rankings, including the 2005 incoming class that was ranked #12 by Collegiate Baseball. In that class were four of the top-50 freshmen in the country, including David Kopp (#9), Stan Widmann (#14), Taylor Harbin (#17), and Brad Chalk (#34). Clemson was the only school in the nation to have four freshmen in the top 50. His 2007 incoming class was ranked #4 by Baseball America as well.

He spent the 1998 season with the Twins’ Rookie League team in Fort Myers, FL that reached the playoffs for the first time. He was also responsible for the development of the pitchers.

O’Sullivan was the pitching coach at Virginia in 1996 and 1997. He coached All-America and first-round draft pick Seth Greisenger. The 1996 Cavaliers (44-21) won their first-ever ACC Tournament title. He coached a total of three pitchers in the two years who were drafted in the top-five rounds, including a first, second, and fifth-round pick to go along with a 14th-rounder in 1997. O’Sullivan, who helped in the recruitment of student-athletes at Virginia, coached players picked in the third and 44th rounds in 1997 as well.

His talents were noticed in the summer of 1996 and 1997 when he coached in the Valley League and the Cape Cod League, respectively. O’Sullivan coached the Bourne Braves to the second-best overall record in the Cape while garnering manager-of-the-year honors. He also coached Major League star lefthander Mark Mulder in the summer of 1997. On that staff alone, eight pitchers were drafted.

In 1996, while coaching Waynesboro of the Valley League, he led his team to the pennant and was manager-of-the-year, meaning he earned that honor both years as a head coach in the summer leagues. He also coached 14 players in the two summers who were drafted, including two first-rounders. O’Sullivan coached at Florida Atlantic in the 1994 and 1995 seasons. He was responsible for the hitters, catchers, infielders, and outfielders. From 1992-93, he was an assistant at Florida Community College as the hitting and catching instructor.

In two years at Virginia and eight at Clemson, he has coached 33 pitchers who have been drafted or signed pro contracts. This list includes three first-rounders, nine top-five-rounders, 17 top-10-rounders, and six All-Americans. It is no wonder Leggett chose him to maintain Clemson’s tradition of producing All-America pitchers.

Full Name: Kevin Michael O’Sullivan

Born: December 27, 1968 in Goshen, NY

Education: Bachelor of science in education/sports medicine at Virginia (1991); master of science in exercise science & wellness at Florida Atlantic (1995)

Playing Experience: Two-year letterman at Florida Community College (1988,89); two-year letterman at Virginia (1990,91)

Coaching Experience: Assistant coach at Florida Community College (1992,93); assistant coach at Florida Atlantic (1994,95); assistant coach at Virginia (1996,97); assistant coach at Fort Myers, FL (Twins, R) (1998); assistant coach at Clemson (1999-01); assistant head coach at Clemson (2002); associate head coach at Clemson (2003-06)