BOCA RATON, Fla. – David Kopp, a South Florida native and Clemson alumnus, has joined Head Coach John McCormack’s staff as the new Florida Atlantic University baseball pitching coach for the upcoming season.
Kopp joins the Owls with vast collegiate postseason experience and nearly a decade of playing professional baseball. He hails from Margate, Florida, and after graduating from Coral Springs High School, turned in a successful three-year career at Clemson University, including a Collegiate World Series appearance in 2006. From there, he was a second round draft pick by the St. Louis Cardinals, and played in their organization as well as with the Detroit Tigers before transitioning into coaching.
“I am extremely fortunate and grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the FAU family,” said Kopp. “I am extremely excited to work with John McCormack and his staff. There is no doubt he is one of the best in the business at consistently winning baseball games and developing young men in the process. I am excited to be a part of the culture of FAU and am looking forward to working with the pitching staff to develop a group of young men into champions.”
At Clemson, Kopp was part of a team that went to three consecutive NCAA Super Regionals, and in 2006, one that won the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship and advanced to the College World Series as the No. 1 national seed. He earned wins in both of the Tigers’ clinching victories, in the regionals and super regionals, to advance the squad to the CWS. His final year, he was voted team captain and was named First Team All-ACC.
He was also successful off the field, as a two-time member of the ACC Academic Honor Roll as well as being named to Clemson’s Presidents List. He went on to earn his degree from the university in sports recreation and tourism management.
Following his junior season, Kopp was selected 71st overall by St. Louis in the 2007 MLB Draft, and continued to earn accolades in their minor league system. He rose two levels in his first full season in 2008, and the following year was named a Florida State League All-Star. During the 2010 season, he was named Texas League Pitcher of the Year for the AA Springfield Cardinals and advanced to finish the year with AAA Memphis. He also participated in the 2012 World Baseball Classic and played two years in the Detroit Tigers’ organization before launching his coaching career in 2015.
His first season on staff was at his alma mater, and that Clemson squad was ACC Champions while earning the No. 7 national seed in the NCAA Tournament. He also served during the offseason as pitching coach and player recruiter for the Strasburg Express, another championship squad, in the Valley Baseball league. They were voted No. 8 in the nation following the year.
Most recently, Kopp was pitching coach and recruiting coordinator for Florida Southern, and earned yet another postseason appearance in the process. The team finished 35-17, had the second-longest win streak in program history of 17 games, and Kopp’s staff was first in the nation in strikeout-to-walk ratio. Junior righthander Jake Walsh was named a finalist for the Brett Tomko Award (given to the national pitcher of the year), as well as being chosen South Region Pitcher of the Year.
“I am very excited to announce that David will be joining our staff,” said McCormack. “He brings a wealth of experience both as player and coach to our program. I have known David since he was 16 and followed his career from Clemson, to being a second round pick with the Cardinals, and then on to coaching. He is a rising star in this business and I am excited for our players to get to know him and work with him.”
Kopp inherits an experienced Owls’ pitching staff with 13 returnees from last season’s 35-win team, many of whom were key members of a bullpen that posted a 3.27 ERA (and 2.99 against Conference USA opponents). The squad will soon begin preparation for the fall ahead of the 2018 campaign.