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FAU opens its season on Feb. 15
John McCormack enters his sixth season as head baseball coach at Florida Atlantic after serving 11 years as associate head coach.
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.
Nine players have been selected in the Major League Baseball Draft during McCormack's six seasons as head coach. A total of 84 FAU players that McCormack has recruited or coached at FAU have continued their professional baseball careers, including relief pitcher Michael Sylvestri who earned a spot in the 2013 MLB Draft.
McCormack played an essential role in developing Florida Atlantic's nationally recognized program, acting as recruiting coordinator for 16 seasons. His efforts brought in eight players that earned All-American honors, six that were named Freshmen All-Americans and three conference Player of the Year selections. Five of his former players have played in the major leagues, 12 players were drafted in the first 10 rounds of the Major League Baseball amateur draft and three players were drafted in the third round.
McCormack has recorded 173 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.
In the 17 years that McCormack has recruited, FAU has won 681 games, tied a national record for consecutive games won (34), participated in eight NCAA regionals (playing in the championship game five times) and won 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.