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How FAU won its first C-USA Championship
Endris is the fifth Owl drafted this season
McKay becomes second Owl drafted in 2016
John McCormack completed his eighth season as head baseball coach at Florida Atlantic in 2016 after serving 11 years as associate head coach and seven years as an assistant coach.
In 2016, McCormack added more bullet points to his lengthy resume, with a 39-19 overall mark, the team’s first Conference USA regular season championship, and an NCAA Regional appearance. The squad had eight wins over nationally-ranked opponents, including three ranked No. 1 throughout the year.
The Owls had five players drafted and six in total join Major League farm systems, including shortstop C.J. Chatham, the highest pick in program history. He was chosen in the second round, No. 51 overall, by the Boston Red Sox. That came on the heels of possibly the most decorated seasons ever by an Owl, as he was named Conference USA Player of the Year, C-USA Defensive Player of the Year and as a First Team Louisville Slugger All-American. He was also a Golden Spikes Award semifinalist and Brooks Wallace semifinalist.
In addition to Chatham, the pitching trio of Brandon Rhodes, Marc Stewart and Cameron Ragsdale earned All-C-USA honors, and pitcher Nick Swan and catcher Tyler Frank were chosen to the conference’s All-Freshman squad. Ragsdale and Chatham also earned All-Region honors. Brett Lashley was chosen as the C-USA Scholar Athlete baseball representative as well.
McCormack led the 2015 squad to yet another NCAA Regional appearance and national recognition as the Owls ranked as high as No. 12 in the polls. FAU's 42-19 mark is the best record under McCormack's direction as the Owls finished second in Conference USA and earned the No. 2 seed in the Gainesville regional. FAU saw six players drafted and a seventh sign a professional contract.
In FAU's first season in Conference USA in 2014, McCormack recorded his 200th win at the helm on May 16, defeating No. 30 UAB 3-1 in Boca Raton. Two players from that squad were drafted and two more signed professional contracts. The Owls also produced two All-Conference USA players in Brendon Sanger and Stephen Kerr and Kerr earned Freshman All-American for his efforts.
It didn't take long for McCormack to get the Owls back to national prominence, guiding FAU to its first Sun Belt Conference regular-season championship in his second season as head coach in 2010. This is an achievement that earned McCormack the league's Coach of the Year Award. The team culminated that season by advancing to the championship game of the NCAA Gainesville Regional.
The team ended its 2013 season with a 42-22 record, capturing its third Sun Belt Conference Tournament title, and were ranked No. 20 by Baseball America and Perfect Game, No. 22 by ESPN and No. 24 by Collegiate Baseball. The NCAA Regional finale marked the second time under McCormack's direction that FAU has advanced to an NCAA Regional final and his first 40+ win season as a head coach.
The Owls captured their second Sun Belt Conference title in a three-year span in 2012, winning 19 league games. The team led wire-to-wire for the conference championship in 2012.
McCormack's teams have always featured strong bullpens, including first-team All-Sun Belt Conference selections Austin Gomber (2013), Andy Mee (2010), Hugh Adams (2013, 2011) and R.J. Alvarez (2012). Starting pitchers Mike Gipson (2010), Paul Davis (2011) and Ryan Garton (2012) all were drafted after earning postseason all-conference honors.
Twenty-three players have been selected in the Major League Baseball Draft during McCormack's seven seasons as head coach. A total of 101 FAU players that McCormack has recruited or coached at FAU have continued their professional baseball careers, including Gomber, who was selected in the 4th round of the 2014 MLB Draft by the St. Louis Cardinals. Additionally, 20 of the 23 draftees were not drafted out of high school, continuing McCormack's outstanding track record of developing players after they come to Boca Raton.
McCormack played an essential role in developing Florida Atlantic's nationally-recognized program, acting as recruiting coordinator for 16 seasons. His efforts brought in nine players that earned All-American honors, six that were named Freshmen All-American and three conference Player of the Year selections. Six of his former players have played in the major leagues, 15 players were drafted in the first 10 rounds of the Major League Baseball amateur draft and four players were drafted in the third round or higher.
McCormack recorded 201 wins in his first six seasons. He led the team to a season-series victory over nationally-ranked Miami in 2011 -- the first time since the 1984 campaign that FAU had won the season series against the Hurricanes.
McCormack was promoted to associate head coach in 1998, working with long-time FAU coach Kevin Cooney. Together, Cooney and McCormack won 658 games, appeared in seven NCAA regional tournaments, captured a regional championship in 2002 and advanced to the super regional that season.
A big part of FAU's success has been McCormack's passion for the Boca Raton area and the university, allowing the program to attract some of the best players in Florida. Having lived in Boca Raton for more than 30 years, McCormack realizes what a great area South Florida is and what it can provide student-athletes.
McCormack joined the staff in 1991 after approaching Cooney about assuming the duties of recruiter. He has focused his attention on the pool of talent in the South Florida area. His first FAU recruiting class (1993) finished the season 41-17 and made a trip to the South Regional, where they fell to the eventual national champion.
Other accomplishments under McCormack include tying a national record for consecutive games won (34), and winning the Tuscaloosa Regional by defeating the nation's No. 3-ranked team, Alabama, in 2002. McCormack was recognized with the AFLAC National Assistant Coach of the Year Award in 2003.
In many cases, the talent was evident only to McCormack. FAU's baseball program has been built around the premise that McCormack would find athletes with the desire to win. The coaching staff would develop talent and the players would become better.
Before joining FAU, McCormack played for nearby Lynn University, where he received his bachelor's degree in business administration in 1990. At Lynn, McCormack earned all-conference honors his junior year as a catcher and his senior season as a third baseman. He was named the all-area team MVP during his junior season. Prior to Lynn, he attended Indian River Community College and Pope John Paul II High School in Boca Raton.
Born in New York, McCormack has lived in South Florida for more than 30 years. He and his wife, Katrina, reside in Boca Raton with their two sons, Conor and Shane.
McCormack's Head Coaching Record
|2009||FAU||30-26||Sun Belt Tournament Quarterfinals|
|2010||FAU||37-24||Sun Belt Championship, NCAA Regional|
|2011||FAU||32-25||Sun Belt Tournament|
|2012||FAU||32-22||Sun Belt Championship|
|2013||FAU||42-22||Sun Belt Championship, NCAA Regional|
|2015||FAU||42-19||NCAA Regional, No. 12 National Ranking|
|2016||FAU||39-19||C-USA Championship, NCAA Regional|
|Total||8 seasons||282-182||2010 SBC Coach of the Year|
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