Hitting coach Rob Vaughn will replace John Szefc as the head coach of Maryland baseball program, multiple reports said. Szefc vacated his position June 9 to take the same job at Virginia Tech.
The Humble, Texas, native became associate head coach at the beginning of last season after spending the previous four years as an assistant coach. He, along with Szefc, ushered in a new era of Maryland baseball, taking the program to heights it has never seen before.
Before Vaughn and Szefc came to Maryland, the program hadn’t qualified for an NCAA tournament since 1971. That quickly changed, as the two led the team to a tournament appearance in their second year in 2014. The Terrapins also won a regional championship in 2014, something never accomplished in school history prior to Szefc and Vaughn’s arrival. They followed that up with another regional championship in 2015.
The former Kansas State catcher spent two years in the Chicago White Sox’s farm system after he was drafted in the 30th round of the 2009 MLB Draft. He then returned to Kansas State, where he coached alongside Szefc, as a student assistant coach and was named a volunteer assistant coach the following season. After he was hired as head coach at Maryland in 2012, Szefc brought on Vaughn as a hitting coach.
The offensive guru oversaw a complete overhaul of the Terrapins’ offense. His offensive system, which he calls “The Pack,” is what he used to spearhead the improvement. Each hitter in “The Pack” knows his role is to run, drive in runs, execute with expertise or a combination of the three. The versatility throughout the lineup was put on full display in 2017, as the Terrapins finished in the top 35 nationally in home runs (67) and stolen bases (101).
Vaughn, 29, will become the youngest skipper in team history since 24-year-old Curley Byrd took the helm as the program’s first coach. Many reports named Vaughn an early favorite for the position after Szefc’s sudden departure.
Szefc will earn $400,000 in his first year at Virginia Tech, a sizable upgrade from his salary at Maryland, practice in a facility benefitting from $36 million worth of upgrades and coach in a more competitive conference—two of the eight remaining teams in the College World Series are from the ACC, while no Big Ten squad even won its region to become one of the last 16 schools.
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