Maryland’s John Szefc. (Bob Leverone/AP)
Maryland baseball coach John Szefc, who led the Terrapins back to national relevance after decades of dormancy, is leaving College Park to become the head coach at Virginia Tech.
Szefc, 49, was hired by the Hokies on Friday morning and will be relied upon to revive a program that hasn’t been to the NCAA tournament since 2013. Szefc will replace Pat Mason, who was fired last month after compiling a 90-126-1 record during his four seasons in Blacksburg.
“I’m thrilled, humbled and honored to begin this new challenge at Virginia Tech,” Szefc said in a statement. “As an opposing coach, I always enjoyed our visits to Virginia Tech and appreciated the beauty of the campus and the Blacksburg community. Our family is beyond excited to call Blacksburg our new home.”
Maryland will immediately begin a national search for Szefc’s replacement.
Maryland endured 31 consecutive losing seasons in the Atlantic Coast Conference before Szefc arrived in 2012 to replace Erik Bakich, who left to take the head coaching job at Michigan that spring. Szefc built an immediate winner. During his second season in 2014, Maryland won 40 games and made its first appearance in the NCAA tournament super regional. Maryland returned to the NCAA tournament in 2015, the program’s first back-to-back appearances since 1970-71, and finished with a school-record 42 wins and another trip to the super regional.
In all, Szefc won 180 games during his five seasons and led the Terrapins to three NCAA tournament appearances over the last four years, including this past season, when it finished 38-23. He reached 150 wins at Maryland faster than any other coach.
“John did a tremendous job taking Maryland baseball to new heights,” Director of Athletics Kevin Anderson said in a statement. “The foundation John laid helped put Maryland on the college baseball map. He created a winning culture that we could all be proud of.”
Szefc, who had received a raise to $251,000 annually after the 2015 season, will guide a Hokies program that will have an $18 million upgrade to its stadium facilities next season. Virginia Tech went 23-34 this season and has made the NCAA tournament just twice in the past seven seasons.
“The opportunity to return to the ACC and have our team play in an amazing baseball facility simply added to the appeal of coaching the Hokies,” Szefc said. “I understand and embrace the expectations that come with this leadership position.”