'Hoos hire Dickinson as new pitching coach

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- The Virginia baseball program has found its new pitching coach.

The school announced Friday afternoon that Drew Dickinson will join the UVA coaching staff after eight seasons as pitching coach at Illinois, his alma mater. Dickinson takes over for Karl Kuhn, who was hired last month as head baseball coach at Radford after 16 seasons as Brian O'Connor's pitching coach.

Dickinson is expected to join UVA at fall practice next week.

“It was going to take an incredible opportunity to pull me away from home in Champaign,” Dickinson said in UVA's release announcing the move. “The chance to be the pitching coach at a national championship program and an elite academic institution based in such a great city, is that rare opportunity. I want to thank Coach O’Connor, Carla Williams, and the rest of the Cavalier community. I can’t wait to get to work."

"Drew's background as an elite pitcher at the collegiate and professional level was a result of hard-work and understanding for the game of baseball," O'Connor said in the release. "His commitment to development as a player propelled Drew to be one of the best pitchers in Illinois baseball history, and that same attitude has carried over for him into coaching, as he has consistently shown the ability to recruit and develop talent."

Illinois pitchers finished with a 3.78 team ERA in 2019, combining for 456 strikeouts and 270 walks as a staff while limiting hitters to a .220 batting average against. The Illini reached an NCAA region for the third time in Dickinson's tenure as pitching coach this past spring.

Dickinson's best season as pitching coach came in 2015 -- also the best season in Illinois baseball history. As a team, the Illini won 50 games and reached the first NCAA Super Regional in program history. The pitching staff ranked fifth nationally in team ERA (2.55) and strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.48), and led the Big Ten in those two statistics and several others.

Dickinson's 2014 pitching staff broke the program's 28-year-old record with a 3.25 ERA -- a record that was broken again the following spring by the 2015 staff.

Dickinson also developed 15 Illinois pitchers who were selected in the MLB Draft, led by first-rounders Tyler Jay and Cody Sedlock. Jay was the No. 6 overall pick by the Minnesota Twins in 2015 -- the first of five Illinois pitchers selected in that 2015 draft. A year later, Sedlock was picked at No. 27 overall by the Baltimore Orioles.

Jay (2015) and Sedlock (2016) were also back-to-back Big Ten Pitcher of the Year selections.

As a player at Illinois, Dickinson won a school-record 30 games and was a two-time All-Big Ten first-team selection, and the league's pitcher of the year as a junior in 2002. He spent seven seasons pitching professionally, reaching Double-A in the Oakland A's system after being drafted in 2002.



 
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