HOUSTON – Adding to Houston Baseball’s veteran coaching staff will be former Alabama associate head coach and UCF head coach Terry Rooney who has been named the new assistant coach for the Cougars, head coach Todd Whitting announced on Monday.
“As I went through the process of a national search to hire a pitching coach for our program, Coach [Terry] Rooney was far and away the obvious choice to lead our pitching staff,” Whitting said. “His experience as a head coach, recruiting coordinator and pitching coach at some of the best baseball programs in the country made his hire an easy decision. His work ethic and commitment to the development of student-athletes will make him a great addition to our current coaching staff. The current and future players in our program will greatly benefit from his knowledge and experience at the highest level of college baseball.”
Rooney will hold the title of Houston’s assistant coach, working directly with the pitching staff while also assisting with recruiting efforts.
“I’m really looking forward to joining one of the best programs in the entire country,” Rooney said. “Alongside an incredible coaching staff and a program I am familiar with, Houston has a tremendous track record and tradition of pitching, and I am excited to begin working with these players. I’m grateful to Coach [Todd] Whitting for giving my family and I this opportunity. We are eager to begin this new chapter in our life here at Houston.”
He brings a wealth of experience to Houston’s veteran coaching staff, having spent eight years as the head coach at UCF. He most recently served as the pitching coach at Alabama during the 2017 season and joins the Houston program with more than 20 years of collegiate coaching experience.
ABOUT HOUSTON’S 2017 PITCHING STAFF
Rooney takes over a pitching staff at Houston that has continued to set the bar among the American Athletic Conference. The 2017 Cougar staff finished with a 3.43 ERA and led the conference with only 141 walks allowed to its 445 strikeouts. First Team All-American and American Pitcher of the Year Trey Cumbie led the league with a 2.08 ERA and finished second with 101.1 innings pitched. He paced the conference with four complete games and issued just 15 walks to 82 strikeouts while producing a 10-2 overall record.
PRIOR TO HOUSTON
Rooney has an extensive background in college baseball, having made several stops at established programs throughout the country. Prior to spending the 2017 season at Alabama, he led one of Houston’s American foes in UCF for eight seasons (2008-16). Before heading to Orlando, Rooney was an assistant at LSU (2007-08), Notre Dame (2004-06), Stetson (2002-03), Old Dominion (2000-01), James Madison (1998-99) and George Washington (1997). In all of those stops, Rooney was involved in some capacity with the pitching staff and/or recruiting.
“Coach Rooney’s track record of developing pitchers at his previous schools and multiple nationally ranked recruiting classes he has signed heavily factored into the decision to hire him at Houston,” Whitting said. “His influence in building programs at Stetson, Notre Dame, LSU, and UCF to name a few, illustrates his ability to identify great talent and develop these student-athletes not only into prospects but players that can help build successful teams at the NCAA Regional level.”
Rooney spent the 2017 season at Alabama as the Crimson Tide’s associate head coach, handling the pitching duties. He coached the team’s top reliever in Garrett Suchey to a 26th round draft selection. Under Rooney’s guidance, the righty finished his junior campaign as the team leader in innings pitched (73.2) and strikeouts (70) while maintaining a team-low 3.18 ERA (26 ER).
Rooney led UCF to new heights during his eight seasons at the helm, helping the Knights earn national recognition among the nation’s Top 30 in five seasons. Under his guidance, UCF reached the NCAA postseason in consecutive seasons in 2011 and 2012 – marking just the second time in program history to accomplish that feat. Rooney was tabbed the American Conference Coach of the Year in 2014 and, in 2015, he guided the team to a program-best No. 6 national ranking by Baseball America.
Also during his time at UCF, he was recognized for his recruiting efforts as he led a staff that put together nationally recognized recruiting classes in four seasons. His 2010 recruiting class was slotted as the fourth-best nationally by Collegiate Baseball and the 10th-best class by Baseball America.
Prior to earning his first head coaching job at UCF, Rooney served as the pitching coach and recruiting coordinator at LSU from 2007-08. He helped the 2008 LSU squad to Omaha for the College World Series, thanks in part to standout pitching numbers that included only 201 walked batters compared to 554 strikeouts.
AT NOTRE DAME
Before taking over duties at LSU, Rooney was the pitching coach at Notre Dame for three years, starting in the fall of 2003. He coached the team to three straight NCAA Regional appearances and helped a pitching staff to a 3.43 ERA to rank ninth nationally.
The 2006 pitching staff set several Notre Dame records, while allowing just 18 home runs on the year. Three Irish arms were chosen in the MLB Draft, highlighted by Jeff Samardzija, a fifth-round selection to the Chicago Cubs.
In 2004, two hurlers were taken in the first 10 rounds, marking the first time in program history that two Fighting Irish pitchers were chosen in the Top 10 rounds of the same draft.
Rooney was the pitching coach at Stetson from 2002-03. During his time there, the Hatters made a pair of NCAA Regional appearances and posted two 40-win seasons. Under Rooney's tutelage, four Stetson pitchers garnered All-Atlantic Sun Conference honors, and two were taken in the MLB Draft. Rooney's 2006 Stetson recruiting class was ranked 12th nationally by Baseball America, the highest in the history of the program.
AT OLD DOMINION
Rooney spent 2000-01 at Old Dominion, helping the Monarchs earn an NCAA Regional berth as the No. 2 seed in 2000. Four pitchers that Rooney coached went on to play professional baseball, including Justin Verlander, who he recruited and signed.
Rooney's two years at James Madison (1998-99) included a pair of nationally ranked recruiting classes, as he first assumed the role of pitching coach/recruiting coordinator in 1999. Two of his pitchers were later drafted in the first 10 rounds, and six from the 1999 class went on to sign professional contracts with three players drafted in the top five rounds.
Rooney began his coaching career in 1997 at George Washington.
Rooney played collegiately at Radford, where he pitched for three seasons for the Highlanders. For his career, he sported an 8-2 overall record and still ranks second all-time in school history with 79 appearances.
He began his collegiate playing days at Davis & Elkins College in West Virginia, where he went 4-2 on the mound as a freshman.
Rooney graduated from Radford in 1996 with his bachelor's degree in social science.
A native of Fairfax, Va., he and his wife, Shaun, were married in December 2007. The couple has one daughter, Milly Margaret, who was born in 2014.
Rooney replaces Frank Anderson, who accepted the pitching coach position at the University of Tennessee. Anderson spent the last five seasons as Houston’s pitching coach under Whitting.
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