Owls add pitching depth in signing class
Two seniors will lead the Owls in 2015
Owls will host 35 games in 2015
Alumni encouraged to contact Coach McCormack to play in game
Admission is free to the public; first pitch at 5:45 p.m.
John McCormack enters his seventh season as head baseball coach at Florida Atlantic after serving 11 years as associate head coach.
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.
12 players have been selected in the Major League Baseball Draft during McCormack's seven seasons as head coach. A total of 88 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.
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 201 wins in his first seven 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.