Sean Kenny, pitching coach at Michigan, has been named an assistant coach for the Bulldogs, Georgia’s Ike Cousins head baseball coach Scott Stricklin announced Saturday.
“We’re excited to have Sean join our staff as the pitching coach,” said Stricklin. “He has a wealth of experience, he’s a proven recruiter, and he communicates well with the players. We’re looking forward to him working with our pitchers.”
A native of Ann Arbor, Mich., Kenny recently completed his fifth season with the Wolverines under the direction of Erik Bakich as they finished 42-17 and earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Championships. The 2017 pitching staff led the Big Ten with a 3.46 Earned Run Average (ERA) and 562 strikeouts while limiting opponents to a .231 batting average. Starting pitcher Oliver Jaskie and reliever Jackson Lamb were named to the All-Big-Ten first team while freshman reliever Tommy Henry made the conference All-Freshmen team.
In 2016, Michigan’s pitching staff ranked first in the Big Ten in fewest hits allowed, second in strikeouts and featured three pitchers selected in the MLB Draft (Brett Adcock-4th Round, Houston, Evan Hill, 24th Round, Detroit, and Jackson Lamb, 35th Round, St. Louis). The Wolverines ended the year 36-21 with a 3.86 team ERA. The 2015 squad captured the Big Ten Tournament Championship, advanced to an NCAA Regional and concluded the season with a 39-25 record, registering 513 strikeouts and a 3.81 ERA. Michigan’s staff led the Big Ten with 440 strikeouts and 24 pickoffs in 2014 while posting a 30-29 record and a team ERA of 3.21, good for third in the league. In his first season in Ann Arbor, Kenny’s work with the staff helped lower the team ERA by .60 from the previous year, and the team surrendered just 13 home runs, down from 32 in 2012. The 2013 team went 29-27 with a 4.10 ERA. Overall, Michigan has had 12 players including five pitchers selected in the MLB draft since 2013. (Note: The 2017 MLB draft is slated for June 12-14)
Kenny came to Michigan after spending three seasons with Bakich at the University of Maryland where he worked as the Terrapins’ pitching coach. Maryland’s team ERA of 3.21 in 2012 ranked third in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). In 2011, the Terrapins ranked fifth in the ACC in ERA and 32nd nationally in strikeouts per nine innings. In Kenny’s first year at Maryland, the pitching staff set a school record with 464 strikeouts, which ranked 16th nationally. Kenny also helped Maryland sign the school’s first top-25 recruiting class in 2010 and developed a pair of top 20 round draft picks in Adam Kolarek (11th round, New York Mets in 2010) and Eric Potter (19th round, Oakland A’s in 2011). Overall, the Terrapins had eight players drafted including six pitchers during that three-year stretch.
Prior to going to Maryland, Kenny spent six seasons as the pitching coach and recruiting coordinator at Pepperdine under Steve Rodriguez. He helped guide the Waves to five NCAA Regional appearances and three West Coast Conference (WCC) titles. He coached the 2005 WCC Pitcher of the Year in Paul Coleman, and the 2005 WCC Freshman of the Year in Barry Enright who went on to be named the 2006 WCC Pitcher of the Year and eventually reached the Major Leagues with Arizona in 2010. The 2007 squad registered a team ERA of 3.33. Additionally as recruiting coordinator, he signed multiple nationally ranked classes, including the eighth best group in 2005 and the 13th best in 2008. During his tenure with the Waves, 12 pitchers earned a total of 17 All-Conference honors. Also, 22 Waves were selected in the MLB draft including 11 pitchers.
Before heading to Pepperdine, Kenny worked at the University of San Diego where he served as the pitching coach and recruiting coordinator on Rich Hill’s staff from 1999-2003. He helped USD to West Coast Conference titles in 2002 and 2003 and recruited the nation’s 22nd-best class for 2004. One of his standout players was 2002 WCC Pitcher of the Year and third team All-American Ricky Barrett. A total of 12 Toreros including three pitchers were selected in the MLB draft during his stint at San Diego.
Kenny began his coaching career as a volunteer assistant at Saint Mary’s College in Moraga, Calif., in 1997, working with the outfielders. He landed his first full-time coaching position at Laney Community College in Oakland, Calif., where he served as pitching coach in 1998.
Kenny is a graduate of Eastern Michigan where he earned All-Mid-American Conference honors as a pitcher for the Eagles. He was a 17th round selection of the New York Mets in the 1993 MLB draft and played three seasons of professional baseball. He earned a bachelor’s degree in literature from EMU in the fall of 1997 and a master’s in physical education from Saint Mary’s in 2000.