Jim Penders has worked with the University of Connecticut baseball program in 25 of the last 27 years, being associated with the Huskies as a student-athlete, an assistant coach and now head coach. He completed his 13th season at the helm of the program in 2016. A four-time conference Coach of the Year, Penders has overseen one of the most successful stretches in the 120-year history of UConn baseball.
Overall in his tenure, Penders holds a 455-320-4 record. He has led the Huskies to four NCAA Tournament appearances, including a Super Regional appearances in 2011. UConn has also won a regular season or conference title three times with Penders in the dugout and hosted the 2010 Norwich Regional. Under his watch, nine Huskies have earned All-America honors, most recently Anthony Kay and Tim Cate in 2016.
In 13 seasons as head coach for the Huskies, Penders has had a total of 42 players either drafted or signed by professional baseball clubs. During the 2015 MLB season a program-record five former Huskies played in the big leagues: Nick Ahmed ('11) of the Diamondbacks, Matt Barnes ('11) of the Red Sox, Scott Oberg ('12) of the Rockies, Mike Olt ('11) of the Cubs and George Springer ('11) of the Astros. Penders has led his squad to 30 or more wins in 11 of his 13 years at Connecticut.
Josh MacDonald joined Jim Penders' staff in 2012 and recently completed hi fifth season as the Husky pitching coach. Under MacDonald, UConn has posted three of its four best team ERAs since 1980.
MacDonald coached a pair of All-Americans in 2016, highlighted by Anthony Kay's Louisville Slugger Second Team All-America nod. Kay, who was drafted by the New York Mets with the 31st pick in the 2016 MLB Draft, was also tabbed as the American Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Year. Freshman LHP Tim Cate was tabbed as the league's Rookie Pitcher of the Year and earned on a spot on the Louisville Slugger Freshman All-America squad. As a staff, UConn established a new single-season program record with 558 strikeouts and picked up the fourth-most wins in single-season history (38).
The 2014 Huskies finished 45th nationally with a 3.19 ERA, good for third best in The American Athletic Conference. MacDonald guided senior ace Anthony Marzi to a Third Team All-Conference season, helping Marzi move into the top-five in UConn history in several categories. Under MacDonald's counsel, freshman Andrew Zapata finished seventh in the nation and first in The American with a paltry 5.57 hits allowed per nine innings.
Jeff Hourigan joined Jim Penders' staff prior to the 2012 season and concluded his fifth season in the Husky dugout in 2016. Hourigan, who played at UConn for two seasons, returned to Storrs after spending five years as an assistant coach and pitching coach at the University of New Haven.
During Hourigan's time in Storrs, he has mentored the UConn hitters, specifically outfielders, and served as the recruiting coordinator. Since he came aboard, UConn has had 12 incoming or outgoing position players drafted in the MLB Draft. Hourigan has also helped mentor a pair of All-Americans, with Vinny Siena (2015) and LJ Mazzilli (2013) each earning All-America honors during their time in Storrs.
In 2015, Hourigan paced the UConn offense to a triple slash line of .288/.388/.416 to post a conference-leading 6.5 runs per game. The UConn offense sent five to All-Conference teams and Vinny Siena followed Bobby Melley in 2014 to give the Huskies back-to-back NEIBA New England Player of the Year winners. The Huskies also had three hitters (Blake Davey, Joe DeRoche-Duffin and Siena) earn ABCA All-Region honors.
Chris Podeszwa has been a member of his former UConn teammate Jim Penders' coaching staff since Penders took over as head coach in 2004. Podeszwa's focus is primarily on the instruction of infielders and hitters.
Podeszwa helped the Huskies capture their first-ever American Athletic Conference crown in 2016, helping guide the program to a 38-25 overall mark and its fourth NCAA Tournament appearance in the last seven seasons.
The 2014 Huskies finished in the top-100 nationally in on-base percentage, placing fourth in The American with a .364 mark. Podeszwa also helped three hitters (Blake Davey, Max McDowell, Bobby Melley) earn All-Conference nods, while Melley was named 2014 NEIBA New England Player of the Year.
UConn head coach Jim Penders announced the newest addition to the baseball staff Wednesday, naming former Husky pitcher Jordan Tabakman Director of Player Development and Baseball Operations.
“It’s so great to have Jordan back in Storrs,” said Penders. “He’s always been a proud member of the UConn baseball family and I can’t wait for our team to benefit from his loyalty, competitiveness, diligence and determination. He did a great job for Coach Hamm at Amherst College and we are very lucky to have him back home at UConn.”
During his four-year UConn career, Tabakman split time between the starting rotation and the bullpen. The right-hander appeared in 59 games with 41 starts made, accumulating 269.1 innings placing him fourth all-time in UConn history. Tabakman’s 16 wins on the mound for the Huskies ranks in a tie for 13th in program history.
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