July 15, 2010
Columbia, S.C. - South Carolina pitching coach Mark Calvi has accepted the head coach in-waiting position at the University of South Alabama. Under the direction of Calvi, the Gamecock pitching staff has been among the best in the SEC and the nation. The Gamecock pitching staff had a phenomenal College World Series, posting a 2.15 ERA, almost one whole point lower than the next-lowest team at the CWS, as the Gamecocks won the school's first national title in baseball. This past year, Carolina's staff boasted a team ERA of 3.45, seventh best in the country, and also tallied 625 strikeouts to just 220 walks, averaging 8.9 strikeouts per nine innings, sixth best in the nation.
This upcoming year he will serve as associate head coach and at the end of the 2011 season, will replace USA's head coach Steve Kittrell, who is retiring at the end of the 2011 campaign. Calvi is scheduled to be introduced Friday at a 2 p.m. ET press conference at the Mitchell Center.
"I am very honored to accept the head coach in-waiting position at South Alabama," said Coach Calvi. "I have had the pleasure of working at a great school, like the University of South Carolina and I am grateful for the chance Ray Tanner gave me to be a part of this program. My family and I appreciate the players, coaches and staff that I have had an opportunity to work with and those memories, including this year's national championship, will be with me forever. I have had a goal to be a head coach one day and now I look forward to this new opportunity and I am excited for the future."
In four of the last six seasons, the Gamecocks have ranked among the top five in the conference in earned run average including this past year, finishing first among the 12 SEC schools. Calvi just completed his sixth year as pitching coach at the University of South Carolina and his 17th year coaching in collegiate baseball.
"I'm very excited for Coach Calvi and his family as he embarks on his career as a head coach," said South Carolina head coach Ray Tanner. "He is deserving of this opportunity and will be a great leader for Jaguar Baseball. Coach Calvi is a tremendous pitching coach and friend. He has done a magnificent job here at Carolina and we wish him success at South Alabama."
In his time at Carolina and Florida International University, Calvi has had 35 pitchers drafted or signed by Major League Baseball teams. That group of pitchers includes Blake Cooper, who earned All-America honors this year after posting a 13-2 record with a 2.76 ERA in 137 innings pitched. His 13 victories was second highest in the nation this season. Cooper finished with 34 career victories in his time with the Garnet & Black, tying him for fourth on the school's all-time wins list. He was a 12th round selection and signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Also drafted this year was right-hander Sam Dyson, who was a fourth round pick by the Toronto Blue Jays. Dyson finished 6-5 on the year with 101 strikeouts in 103 innings pitched. Gamecock right-handers Jordan Propst and Parker Bangs also were drafted and signed with the Kansas City Royals. Calvi was also a key part of the development of freshman right-hander Matt Price, who picked up Freshman All-America honors as a reliever after posting a 5-1 record with a 2.26 ERA as well as 10 saves. He struck out 83 batters to just 19 walks and opponents batted just .183 on the year against him.
The 2009 staff featured a pair of nine-game winners in Dyson and Cooper along with 2009 SEC All-Freshman selection Nolan Belcher. Dyson and Cooper tied for third in the league in wins with senior left-handed reliever Alex Farotto finishing seventh in the conference with seven saves as well. Farotto was drafted and signed with the Chicago White Sox in June. Dyson and right-handed pitcher Parker Bangs also were drafted but chose to return to Columbia for another season. Cooper earned NCAA All-Regional tournament honors after a complete game victory vs. East Carolina in Greenville, N.C.
In the 2008 season, Dyson emerged to earn Freshman All-America honors while posting an 8-0 record. Calvi also had three pitchers selected in the 2008 MLB Draft. Junior LHP Will Atwood was a 12th round pick by the Washington Nationals with junior RHP Mike Cisco (Phillies) and senior RHP Brandon Todd (Marlins) selected in the 36th round.
In Calvi's third season at Carolina, the Gamecocks were third in the SEC in 2007 with a 3.93 team ERA. That staff also finished with 606 strikeouts in 597.1 innings pitched. Carolina ranked third in the nation in strikeouts per nine innings with 9.1 punchouts averaged per contest. Calvi also had four of his pitchers selected in the 2007 MLB Draft. Junior RHP Wynn Pelzer went in the ninth round (Padres), junior RHP Harris Honeycutt was a 10th round pick (Reds), junior LHP Arik Hempy was selected in the 17th round (Cubs) and senior RHP Jeff Jeffords was picked up in the 19th round by the Reds. The 2007 season also saw the emergence of RHP Blake Cooper, who was tabbed Freshman All-America by Collegiate Baseball.
In the 2006 season, a young pitching staff found its form putting together its best numbers late in the year and in the postseason. Under Calvi's leadership, Pelzer earned second team All-SEC honors along with Cisco being named to the SEC All-Freshman team. In addition, both Pelzer and Cisco were part of the 2006 NCAA All-Tournament team at the Charlottesville Regional. Junior pitcher Andrew Cruse was a ninth round selection in the MLB Draft by the Philadelphia Phillies.
Calvi's first season at Carolina was also a success with the Gamecocks producing a 3.78 team ERA, as senior pitchers Zac McCamie and Aaron Rawl finished among the SEC leaders in innings pitched and strikeouts. Rawl and McCamie also were selected in the 2005 MLB Draft.
Before coming to USC, Calvi served 11 years as an assistant at Florida International University. At FIU, Calvi's pitching staff finished among the Top 10 in earned run average five times and the Golden Panthers made seven NCAA appearances advancing to the Super Regionals against Southern Cal in 2001. His 1995 (2.40) and 1999 (3.07) staffs led Division I in ERA. In addition, FIU led the entire nation in strikeouts in 1998 with 675 punchouts. His `95 staff also posted 16 shutouts, tied for the sixth highest total in NCAA history.
Calvi established himself as one of the top pitching coaches in the country at FIU producing eight All-Americans and 13 All-Conference recipients. That group of pitchers includes former Golden Panther Josh Banks, who pitched for the San Diego Padres in 2009 and Mark Worrell and Willie Collazo, who recently competed at the Major League level with the New York Mets and St. Louis Cardinals respectively. Calvi also mentored former MLB pitchers Steve Kent and Jose Rodriguez. Kent pitched for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays while Rodriguez pitched for the St. Louis Cardinals, Toronto Blue Jays and Minnesota Twins.
Calvi has also produced two pitchers that have led the nation in strikeouts and earned run average respectively. Pitcher Evan Thomas led the country in strikeouts with 220 in the 1996 season; the fourth highest total in NCAA history and Joseph Burns finished the 1995 campaign with a 1.20 ERA.
Originally from Marco Island, Fla., Calvi earned three varsity letters in baseball at Nova Southeastern University as a catcher. After earning a bachelor's degree in secondary education, Calvi signed a professional baseball contract with the Seattle Mariners organization in 1992, helping his team win a Northwest League Championship that season. The following year he worked as a scout for the Mariners.
Calvi and his wife, the former Kaylie Ebner, have one daughter, Taylor, born on October 3, 1994.
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