UCF Knights baseball

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UCF Knights Baseball
2017 UCF Knights baseball team
UCF Knights logo.svg
Founded 1973
University University of Central Florida
Head coach Greg Lovelady (1st season)
Conference The American
Location Orlando, FL
Home stadium John Euliano Park
(Capacity: 3,230[1])
Nickname Knights
Colors Black and Gold[2]
         
NCAA Tournament appearances
1989, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2011, 2012, 2017
Conference tournament champions
1993, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2001, 2002
Conference champions
2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2017

The UCF Knights baseball team represents The University of Central Florida in National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) Division I. The Knights compete in the American Athletic Conference (The American).[3] The Knights play their home games on UCF's main campus in Orlando, Florida at John Euliano Park, and are currently coached by head coach Greg Lovelady.

History[edit]

Coaching history[edit]

Tenure Coach Seasons Record Pct.
1973–1975 Doug Holmquist 3 66–41–1 .616
1976–1977 Jack Sexton 2 43–41 .512
1978–1982 Bill Moon 5 124–110–6 .529
1983–2008 Jay Bergman 26 994–594–3 .626
2008 Craig Cozart 1 4–8 .333
2009–2016 Terry Rooney 7 261-210 .554
2017–Present Greg Lovelady 1 40–22 .656
Totals 7 coaches 45 seasons 1,532–1026–10 .599
Denotes interim coach

Early history (1973–1983)[edit]

Though UCF baseball first took the field in 1973, its history dates back to 1970 with UCF's club baseball team, the FTU Goldsox.[4][5] The Goldsox played in the Amateur Baseball League of Central Florida and were managed by Jack Pantelias, who led them from 1970 to midway through the 1972 season. When Pantelias resigned, he was replaced by Doug Holmquist, who would lead the team through the end of the season on an interim basis before being named head coach before the 1973 season.[5]

The team has been nationally ranked at times during the course of eleven seasons, including the highest ranking of No. 7 during both the 2001 and 2012 seasons.[5]

Bergman era (1983–2008)[edit]

Jay Bergman took over the program in 1983 after serving as the head coach at Seminole Community College. The Knights first season in Division I was in 1985 under Bergman. The Knights earned a 52–34–1 record in their first D–I season.[5] Bergman was forced to retire during the 2008 season after allegations surfaced of him harassing an equipment manager.[6][7]

Bergman had a large amount of success in this position, leading UCF to Atlantic Sun Championships in 93, 95, 96, 97, 00, 01, 02, 04 and NCAA Regional Appearances in 89, 93, 95, 96, 97, 00, 01, 02, 04, and brought UCF to a national ranking of No. 7 in 2001.[5] In honor of his long term success with the Knights, on February 3, 2001, UCF opened and dedicated Jay Bergman Field.

Rooney era (2009–2016)[edit]

Terry Rooney became head coach in 2008 after serving as an assistant coach at LSU, Notre Dame, Stetson, Old Dominion, James Madison, and George Washington. In his second season, Rooney led the Knights to a 33–22 (10–14) record, 11 more wins than the prior season and the best conference record since the team started in Conference USA in 2006.[8] On June 21, 2010, Rooney signed a four-year contract extension with the university, making him the Knights head baseball coach through 2014.[9]

Following a 38–21 season, Rooney led the Knights to their first NCAA Tournament under his leadership in 2011.[10] The year was a high for the Knights, defeating the No 4. ranked Florida Gators in Gainesville and the then-ranked No. 5 Gators in Orlando. The Knights also defeated the No. 6 ranked Florida State Seminoles in Tallahassee during the 2011 campaign.[11] In 2012, Rooney led the Knights to a No. 7 ranking during week ten, and an appearance in the Coral Gables Regional.

From 2013-2016, the Knights were 121-114 under Rooney's leadership. UCF did not appear in another NCAA tournament despite a 36-23 record in 2014 where Rooney won American Athletic Conference Coach of the Year. In 2015, the Knights were 22-7 and ranked No. 6 in the nation through their first 30 games but eventually ended the season 31-27. After going 26-33 in 2016 despite a 6-0 start, Rooney departed from UCF and eventually joined the Alabama staff as an assistant coach.

Lovelady era (2017–Present)[edit]

On August 22, 2016, Jay Bergman Field was renamed John Euliano Park.[12]

Greg Lovelady was hired as Rooney's replacement in July 2016 after serving as Head Coach at Wright State. Lovelady brought immediate success back to the UCF Baseball program, leading the Knights to a 40-22 record in 2017. The Knights were crowned American Athletic Conference Regular Season Champions but went 2-2 in the conference tournament, being eliminated by East Carolina in the semifinals. The Knights received a 2 seed in the Tallahassee Regional of the NCAA Tournament but were eliminated by Florida State after losing their first game to Auburn.

Stadium[edit]

John Euliano Park

John Euliano Park is located on UCF's main campus in Orlando, Florida. It was originally built in 2001 as a state-of-the-art facility, and features an indoor training facility with three batting cages and two pitching mounds. The facility was originally named after the Knight's former head coach, Jay Bergman. It retained the name until 2016, when it was named after alumnus and donor John Euliano.[12]

Renovations[edit]

Within the last few years, John Euliano Park has been expanded from 1,980 seats to 2,230. The stadium can also accommodate another 1,000 fans on grass berms along the first and third base lines.[1] In the next few years seating will be further expanded to a total capacity at 4,180.[13] In addition, a new digital scoreboard and beautification has taken place as part of the renovation.

Program records and achievements[edit]

Conference tournament championships[edit]

Conference Season
Atlantic Sun Conference 1993
Atlantic Sun Conference 1995
Atlantic Sun Conference 1996
Atlantic Sun Conference 1997
Atlantic Sun Conference 2001
Atlantic Sun Conference 2002
Total Conference Titles 6

Conference season championships[edit]

Conference Season
Atlantic Sun Conference 2000
Atlantic Sun Conference 2001
Atlantic Sun Conference 2002
Atlantic Sun Conference 2004
American Athletic Conference 2017
Total Conference Titles 5

NCAA Tournament[edit]

Year Coach Record Pct. Notes
1989 Jay Bergman 2–2 .500 Eliminated by Villanova in the East Regional
1993 Jay Bergman 1–2 .333 Eliminated by Notre Dame in the East Regional
1995 Jay Bergman 1–2 .333 Eliminated by Ole Miss in the Atlantic Regional
1996 Jay Bergman 1–2 .333 Eliminated by UMass in the East Regional
1997 Jay Bergman 0–2 .000 Eliminated by Florida State in the East Regional
2000 Jay Bergman 2–2 .500 Eliminated by Florida State in the Tallahassee Regional
2001 Jay Bergman 2–2 .500 Eliminated by South Carolina in the Columbia Regional
2002 Jay Bergman 1–2 .333 Eliminated by USF in the Tallahassee Regional
2004 Jay Bergman 3–2 .600 Eliminated by Florida State in the Tallahassee Regional
2011 Terry Rooney 1–2 .333 Eliminated by Alabama in the Tallahassee Regional
2012 Terry Rooney 2–2 .500 Eliminated by Stony Brook in the Coral Gables Regional
2017 Greg Lovelady 0–2 .000 Eliminated by Florida State in the Tallahassee Regional
Totals 16–24 .400 12 Appearances
The format of the tournament has changed through the years.

Knights in the MLB[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]