Hall of Famer Schnall returns to CCU baseball

AsstCoach Kevin Schnall vs VaTechKevin Schnall – a Coastal Carolina assistant coach for 12 years (2001-12) and a member of the University’s Sasser Athletics Hall of Fame – is returning to the Chanticleer baseball staff as associate head coach, Coastal Carolina head coach Gary Gilmore announced today.

“Kevin Schnall was a huge part of our program’s success, both as a player and a coach,” Gilmore said. “He epitomized the type of player we strive to mold here. As a coach, his track record for hitting instruction and teaching the catcher position is unmatched. Also, his passion for the game and for Coastal Carolina University is abundantly clear to everyone he meets which makes him one of the top recruiters in the nation.

“It was good for Kevin to explore another opportunity the past couple years to learn different ways and philosophies while expanding his recruiting base, but the time is right for him to return to Coastal. The future of the program is secure with him joining the outstanding staff we currently have in place. I know we have all the pieces of the puzzle to reach Omaha.”

Schnall served on the University of Central Florida baseball staff for the past three years (2013-15) as the Golden Knights’ hitting instructor and recruiting coordinator. With Coastal, Schnall will resume his duties as recruiting coordinator, a position he held down his final seven years at CCU, as well as work with the Chanticleer catchers and provide hitting instruction.

“I’d like to thank this baseball program’s leader, Coach Gilmore, director of athletics Matt Hogue, President Dr. David DeCenzo and the Board of Trustees for extending this unbelievable opportunity to my family to return to Coastal Carolina,” Schnall said. “It’s a special feeling to be coming back home.

“My three years at UCF were a wholesome experience. It not only helped me grow as a person and baseball coach, but it expanded my footprint as a national recruiter. However, I’m truly honored and proud to once again wear the Coastal uniform. There is no way like the ‘Coastal way!'”

This past season, Schnall’s instruction helped the Golden Knights lead the American Athletic Conference and rank sixth nationally in home runs (66) while posting a league-best .294 batting average. UCF additionally led the AAC and ranked 12th nationally in slugging percentage.

The 2014 campaign saw UCF junior shortstop Tommy Williams earn first team All-AAC honors after pacing the league with 12 homers. A program record nine Knights were honored on the three league all-conference squads. Schnall aided junior first baseman James Vasquez to a career year with a .340 average and 56 RBI.

In Schnall’s first season with the Knights, catcher/third baseman Chris Taladay won Conference USA Player of the Year honors after leading the team with a .342 batting average, 43 RBI and a .409 on-base percentage. Outfielder Erik Hempe also earned C-USA first team honors under Schnall’s tutelage after setting career highs in batting average and RBI while leading UCF in home runs and doubles.

As the Knights’ recruiting coordinator, Schnall was responsible for a trio of nationally-ranked recruiting classes per Collegiate Baseball Newspaper (2013-14) and Baseball America (2015). The first of those recruiting classes landed Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American and C-USA All-Freshman Team member Zac Favre.

In the fall of 2011 – between his time at Coastal and starting his first season at UCF – Schnall was listed among the top 10 assistant baseball coaches in nation according to a poll of Division I head coaches by Baseball America.

Schnall began his coaching career at his alma mater, Coastal Carolina, and served as an assistant on Gilmore’s staff from 2001-12. The Chanticleers made appearances in the NCAA Tournament in 11 out of his 12 seasons on the staff, while advancing to the Super Regionals in 2008 and 2010. The Chants earned four #1 seeds at NCAA Regionals and were the national #4 seed in 2010. In those same seasons, Schnall also aided Coastal Carolina to eight Big South regular season championships and eight Big South tournament titles.

Schnall, a standout catcher with the Chanticleers, instructed catchers Dock Doyle (2008 Big South Player of the Year) and Jose Iglesias (third team All-American in 2010), both of whom were finalists for the Johnny Bench Award which given to the nation’s top collegiate catcher. In his final year at Coastal, Schnall coached Chanticleer backstop Tucker Frawley to semifinalist status for the same award.

Schnall is additionally credited with developing individual players such as catcher Randy McGarvey, Jr., who started his career as a walk-on and finished as a two-year starter and 2002 draft pick of the Houston Astros, and Chad Oxendine, who started his Coastal Carolina career as a middle infielder and went on to become an All-Big South catcher in 2004 and played in the Chicago White Sox minor league organization. Schnall also coached Mike Fuentes in 2005-06, who was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 29th round of the Major League Baseball First Year Player Draft. Overall, a Chanticleer catcher was tabbed All-Big South in seven of his 12 years with the Chants. In addition, Will Remillard, who Schnall recruited and coached for a year, was named All-Big South and was drafted in 2013.

Schnall also boasts successful stints as a summer league head coach. In 2001, he coached Front Royal (Va.) of the Valley League and led the Cardinals to the playoffs. In 2002, Schnall was tabbed by the Baseball Factory to coach one of its select summer teams.

In his playing days, Schnall became just the second Chanticleer in Big South history to bat over .400 in a season (.405). He was named Big South Player of the Year in 1999 and led Coastal to a 43-15 record, the program’s best mark since 1983. Schnall slugged seven home runs and collected 48 RBI and struck out just 19 times all season, setting a school record for on-base percentage (.515). He finished his career as an NCBWA Second Team All-American and was a finalist for the Rotary Smith National Player of the Year award.

Schnall’s collegiate success earned him notice from the Cincinnati Reds, who made him their 25th-round pick in 1999. He played two seasons in the Reds farm system, compiling time with the Billings Mustangs of the Pioneer League and the Dayton Dragons of the Midwest League

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