The Hartford Art School, Hartt College of Music, and Hillyer College merged to create the University of Hartford in February 1957. It began operation for the 1957–1958 school year. Although some Hartford athletic programs, such as men's basketball, trace their history to the teams of Hillyer College, records for the baseball program begin with the 1958 season.
1958 was the program's first season of competition. It competed as a member of the NCAA College Division, made up of small-school athletic programs. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, the program competed as an Independent and played a schedule of between ten and twenty games each season.
The program's first head coach, Frank Klein, served in the position for three seasons (1958–1960). The program had a losing record in each season, and Klein's overall record was 14-29. He later became the first commissioner of the Connecticut Collegiate Summer Baseball League.
In 1961, Roger Wickman became the program's second head coach. In his first season, the program had its first winning record, going 7-5 in 1961. In twenty seasons as head coach, Wickman had six total winning seasons and finished with a career record of 146-178-5. Following the 1980 season, he stepped down from the head coaching position to become an administrator in Hartford's athletic department.
During Wickman's tenure (following the 1973 season), the NCAA had reorganized its divisions. The large-school University Division became Division I, while the small-school College Division split to become Divisions II and III. Hartford, which had competed as a College Division Independent, became a Division II Independent. It continued to compete as an Independent through Wickman's final season as head coach in 1980.
For the start of the 1984–1985 academic year, Hartford's athletic programs transitioned to Division I, joining the ECAC. For the 1985 season, the program's first in Division I, it hired former Major League Baseball player Bill Denehy as its head coach. That season, the team went 2-24. In 1986, Denehy's second season, the team's record improved slightly to 8-34. Denehy was fired during his third season for making inflammatory comments following a game against Connecticut in which two brawls broke out. Athletic director Don Cook, assisted by Wickman, coached the team for the remainder of the season.
Prior to the start of the 1988 season, Hartford hired Quinnipiac head coach Dan Gooley as a permanent replacement for Denehy. In Gooley's first season, the Hawks went 29-12 and finished second in the ECAC Tournament. In 1989, the team went 17-15-1 to give the program consecutive winning seasons for the first time since 1971–1972. In 1992, the team went 27-21 and finished second in the North Atlantic Conference (which sponsored its first season of baseball in 1990), again appearing in the ECAC Tournament.
Following the 1992 season, Gooley left Hartford to become a baseball corporate executive, and the program promoted assistant coach and former Major League player Moe Morhardt to replace him. Morhardt held the position for two seasons (1993–1994), in which the program won at least 20 games per season and made consecutive NAC Tournament appearances.[a] The team was eliminated in the opening round in the 1993 tournament. As the fifth seed in 1994, Hartford defeated fourth-seeded Maine in a best-of-three opening round. It then won its first two games in the double-elimination final round (5-1 against first-seeded Delaware and 6-5 against second-seeded Northeastern). The team then lost consecutive games to Northeastern in the championship round, however, and finished as the tournament runner-up. Morhardt resigned as head coach following the season.
UNC Asheville head coach Jim Bretz was hired to replace Morhardt, and Bretz held the position for three seasons (1995–1997). Under him, the program averaged only 16 wins per season and finished no higher than sixth in conference play. It qualified for the 1996 NAC Tournament, in which it finished third. Bretz resigned following the 1997 season "for personal reasons," according to the university. Bob Nenna, one his Bretz's assistant coaches and a Hartford player from 1989–1992, led the team to a 13-32 record as interim head coach in 1998. Future Major League player Earl Snyder played under Bretz and Nenna from 1995–1998. Snyder set program career records for home runs (53) and runs batted in (173). Snyder later played for both the Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox.
From 1999–2011, the program had a pair of head coaches whose career winning percentages were below .300. Hartford hired Bowdoin and Falmouth Commodores head coach Harvey Shapiro for the start of the 1999 season. In six seasons (1999–2004), Shapiro's head coaching record was 76-199-1. Under him, the team finished no higher than sixth in conference play and did not qualify for an America East Tournament, which in 1998 had adopted a four-team format. Shapiro resigned following the 2004 season.Indiana assistant Jeff Calcaterra replaced Shapiro. Calcaterra held the position from the start of the 2005 season until partway through the 2011 season, when he was fired with an overall record of 79-236-1. At the start of the 2006 season, Calcaterra's second season, the program opened Fiondella Field, the program's first on-campus venue since the mid-1980s.
To replace Calcaterra, the program hired Connecticut assistant Justin Blood for the 2012 season. Commenting on Blood's hiring, Aaron Fitt of Baseball America called him "one of the top up-and-coming coaches in the Northeast." In both 2012 and 2013, Blood's first two seasons as head coach, the Hawks finished in fifth place in the America East. In 2014, Hartford went 31-23, finishing second in the America East; pitcher Sean Newcomb was named the America East Pitcher of the Year. The team qualified for the conference tournament, where the team went 1-2. It was Hartford's first winning season since 1992 and first postseason appearance since 1996. Following the season, three Hawks were selected in the 2014 Major League Baseball Draft, including Newcomb, who was selected in the first round by the Los Angeles Angels. Newcomb was Hartford's highest draft pick ever, and the three draftees were the program's first since 2004. Following the season, Blood signed a five-year contract extension through the 2019 season.
National champion Conference regular season champion Conference regular season and conference tournament champion Division regular season champion Division regular season and conference tournament champion Conference tournament champion
^"New Statewide Baseball Loop Formed". The Morning Record (Meriden, CT, USA). May 22, 1964. Archived from the original on June 10, 2013. Retrieved June 10, 2013. "Frank Klein of Fairfield, former University of Hartford baseball coach, was named the league's commissioner-coordinator."
^"Transactions: College". Lawrence Journal-World (Lawrence, Kansas, USA). June 21, 1994. p. 5C. Archived from the original on March 7, 2013. Retrieved March 7, 2013. "HARTFORD-- ... Announced the resignation of Moe Morhardt, baseball coach."