After several weeks of intense speculation and wild rumors, Florida baseball coach Kevin O’Sullivan set the record straight on Thursday afternoon. He will return to the Gators’ dugout for his 15th season next spring.
O’Sullivan had previously been linked to LSU’s coaching position following Paul Mainieri’s pending retirement.
“I am the head coach at the University of Florida and remain fully committed to the Gators program,” the 52-year old said in a statement. “This is where I want to be, and I do not have interest in the head coach openings at any other schools.
“I look forward to continuing to build upon the success this program has experienced over the past 14 years, with the goal of bringing Florida back to the College World Series as we pursue yet another national championship for Gator Nation.”
O’Sullivan, who grew up in Jupiter, Florida, came to UF in June 2007 following nine years as an assistant coach at Clemson.
He is unquestionably the greatest coach in Gators baseball history. He’s led the Orange and Blue to seven of their 12 College World Series appearances. His 2011 team advanced to the national championship series in Omaha before losing to South Carolina. He won the first national championship in program history in 2017.
Additionally, O’Sullivan’s Gators have made the NCAA Tournament every year and won five SEC Championships and two SEC Tournament Championships.
He’s regarded as one of the premier recruiters in the country. The Gators have finished in the top-5 in Baseball America’s recruiting rankings for eight consecutive years, including the nation’s top-ranked class for 2021. He’s helped 25 of his players get selected within the first five rounds of the MLB Draft, a figure that is certain to increase next month.
He’s also considered perhaps the best pitching guru in the country. Among the pitchers he’s coached are: Anthony DeSclafani (San Francisco Giants), Brian Johnson (formerly of the Boston Red Sox), Paco Rodriguez (formerly of the Los Angeles Dodgers), A.J. Puk (Oakland Athletics), Logan Shore, Shaun Anderson (Minnesota Twins), Alex Faedo, Brady Singer (Kansas City Royals), Jackson Kowar (Kansas City Royals) and Michael Byrne.
With the drama of the offseason behind him, O’Sullivan will focus on trying to get the Gators back among the nation’s top programs. They haven’t made the College World Series the last two times it’s been held, which ties for the longest drought of his tenure.
More than half of the roster could potentially be on the way out, and O’Sullivan has signed 20 freshmen in the 2021 class. He’ll likely need some of them to play large roles right away, especially on the mound, which has been the Gators’ biggest weakness the last three seasons.