Season opener scheduled for February 14, home opener on March 7
Villanova head coach Joe Godri wins 300th career game in opener of three-game series
Villanova hosts Huskies in three-game series at the Villanova Ballpark at Plymouth
Harris pitches eight-plus innings and Villanova notches first-ever win at Notre Dame
Big Red return to Plymouth Meeting for first time since 2011
Villanova recognized its graduating seniors prior to its home game against Louisville on May 4, 2013.
Villanova defeated La Salle, 5-3, on March 26 in a game that was part of the Liberty Bell Classic.
Villanova defeated Chicago State, 8-2, on March 15, 2013.
As the Villanova baseball program heads into its 150th season, it is a chance to note that despite the team's longevity there have been just 10 full-time head coaches in program history. Each of the 10 head coaches have carved out their own unique part of the Wildcats history on the diamond and Joe Godri begins his 14th year in that role in 2015. There have been only four head coaches of the team in the past 66 years and Godri has a veteran squad this season that looks ready to be a contender in the BIG EAST Conference.
In his first 13 years as head coach, Godri has led his Villanova teams to a record of .500 or better eight times. The winning seasons include two years with 30 or more victories and two postseason appearances. Godri has won 318 games overall and ranks second in program history with that victory total.
Over the past two years, the Wildcats fielded two of the youngest teams that the club has ever had, with eight freshman and sophomores in the batting order most days during the 2014 campaign. Although the team endured its growing pains, the progress made was easily noticeable. Villanova improved its batting average, on-base percentage, ERA and fielding percentage by significant margins from 2013 to 2014.
There was individual recognition for the playersa?TM accomplishments as well. Second baseman Todd Czinege was a freshman All-America selection by College Baseball Newspaper last season and also earned second team All-BIG EAST accolades along with Matt Meurer, the teama?TMs relief ace. Meurer was voted to the Philadelphia Inquirer Academic All-Area Team and was one of 18 players on the team to earn a spot on the BIG EAST All-Academic Team.
In addition to guiding his student-athletes to success both on the diamond and in the classroom during their time in campus, Godri has also prepared his players for careers in professional baseball. That tradition continued in 2014 when right-handed pitcher JB Kole was an eighth round selection by the Milwaukee Brewers in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. Godri had six former players active in the American professional ranks at the end of the 2014 season, including Chicago Cubs major leaguer Matt Szczur.
At least one Villanova pitcher has been selected in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft in 12 of the 13 seasons that Godri has been head coach and the total number of draft picks from the Wildcats in that span is 23 after the selection of Kole last year and the 2013 picks of standouts Pat Young and Tyler Sciacca. Villanova has had multiple draft picks nine times in the past 12 years and Godri has had five players chosen in the top eight rounds of the draft.
The highlight from the group of pro players during the 2014 season came from Szczur, who made his Major League debut on August 17 and played in 33 games for the Cubs during the remainder of the season. Szczur is the first position player from Godria?TMs tenure as head coach to reach the major leagues, and the third player overall. Current Wildcats pitching coach Kevin Mulvey, and another right-handed pitcher in Brian Slocum, previously played in the major leagues after being high draft picks under Godria?TMs watch. In addition to Szczur, Kole, Young (San Francisco Giants) and Sciacca (Independent baseball), the other former Villanova players active in the minor leagues in 2014 were pitchers Kyle Helisek (St. Louis Cardinals) and Kyle McMyne (Cincinnati Reds).
During his time on the Main Line, Godri has emphasized the importance of growing a collegiate baseball program through incremental team achievements that build up to an ultimate goal, which in the Wildcats case means having success in the highly competitive BIG EAST Conference.
In 2008, the Wildcats made an impressive run late in the regular season to assure themselves of being one of just five teams from the 2007 BIG EAST Championship that would return the following year. Villanova won seven of its last 10 regular season conference games and clinched a playoff berth against regular season champion St. John's at home on the final day of the regular season.
In the conference tournament, Villanova knocked off the top-seeded Red Storm, 12-0, in the opening game. The No. 8 seed Wildcats went on to reach the semifinals before being eliminated by eventual champion Louisville. During the season, shortstop Derek Shunk broke the program's career records for hits, games played and at-bats en route to finishing his career ranked in the top-10 in school history in eight different offensive categories.
Many of the achievements of the 2008 team mirrored those of the 2007 squad, which ended the program's 10-year drought from postseason competition. The Wildcats also clinched their playoff berth in 2007 with a come-from-behind win over the league's regular season champion (Rutgers) during the final weekend of the regular season after making a significant run in the final weeks of the year just to be in position to contend for a playoff spot. In the 2007 BIG EAST Championship, Villanova showed that it belonged, knocking out five-time defending champion Notre Dame in an elimination game on the second day. A day earlier, the Wildcats had taken eventual College World Series qualifier Louisville to the wire in their opening game.
Villanova alumni have also gone on to have success playing internationally. The most recent in that group is Mike Loree, the Wildcats career innings pitched leader who has spent parts of three seasons in Taiwan pitching for the Lamigo Monkeys. Loree has had a great deal of success internationally after a minor league career in the Giants and Pittsburgh Pirates systems, in addition to a successful stint with the Long Island Ducks of the independent Atlantic League. Other notable international players from the Wildcats include Mark Cardillo, Angelo Petracca (Italy), Bob Grzenda (Germany) and John Yeager (Mexico).
Godri's success at Villanova has gained the notice of his peers and during the summer of 2006 he was named to the USA Baseball selection committee that chose the players for the collegiate National Team.
Villanova has developed into one of the top baseball powers in the region under Godri's watch. Over the past 11 seasons (2004-14), the Wildcats have gone 181-120-2 (.601) against non-conference competition and posted a record of 119-77-1 (.607) against opponents from the states of Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
The team's success on the field has been justly rewarded. In the past nine seasons, the Wildcats have had 26 selections on the Philadelphia Big Five Baseball All-Big Five team, including winning at least one of the Player of the Year or Pitcher of the Year awards six times in nine seasons. In 2008 Villanova was named the city's Team of the Year and Godri earned Coach of the Year honors. In addition, the Wildcats have earned 21 All-BIG EAST honors during Godri's tenure and three players have earned All-America status. Derek Shunk was a three-time All-BIG EAST selection and in 2007 was chosen as the District I Player of the Year and a third team All-American by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association. More recently, Matt Szczur (2010) and Matt Fleishman (2012) became the first players under Godri's watch to be first team All-BIG EAST choices, while Szczur also went on to receive third team All-America recognition from the website Ping!Baseball.com. In 2013, Tyler Sciacca was named to the ABCA All-East team for the second consecutive year.
Several highlights of Godri's early tenure as head coach came during the 2005 campaign, when the Wildcats achieved many of the goals that he laid out upon his arrival. In only their seventh game of the season, Villanova erupted for 15 hits in an 11-1 rout of the nation's eighth-ranked Florida Gators. Florida was playing its 12th game of the season and eventually reached the final series of the College World Series that spring.
Also in 2005, starting pitchers Nick Allen and Kevin Mulvey threw no-hitters exactly one month apart. They were the seventh and eighth no-hitters in school history and the first in more than 40 years. Both pitchers were named as National Players of the Week for their achievements, making them the first Villanova players to earn national honors in Godri's tenure.
In the season prior to being named the head coach, Godri served as the associate head coach in 2001 during the final season of George Bennett's 16-year stay on campus. In this position, Godri had the unique opportunity to recruit the first class that would play for him in 2002. That first recruiting class included eventual Villanova stars Nick Allen, James Baxter, Mark Cardillo, Alan Day and Mike Grodecki. Godri's recruiting classes since then have been on par, as Villanova recruits have been ranked among the top 100 classes in the country seven times by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper.
Godri was named the 10th head coach in the illustrious history of Villanova baseball on May 8, 2001. He took over the reigns from all-time program wins leader George Bennett, a 16-year veteran of the program and a member of the Villanova Varsity Club Hall of Fame. Godri's stint as head coach is actually his second with the Wildcats. He previously came to the Main Line in 1991 and served as the hitting coach for three seasons before returning in 2000 as an assistant coach.
During his first stay at Villanova, Godri coached All-American players Mike Neill and Gene Schall. Both went on to play in the major leagues, while Neill won a gold medal playing for the United States in the 2000 Olympic Games. Godri helped lead the Wildcats to the 1991 NCAA Northeast Regional, the team's second NCAA appearance in three seasons.
Following his first three years at Villanova, Godri was the head assistant coach at New Mexico State from 1994-97. While coaching at New Mexico State, two of his three recruiting classes were ranked in the top 40 by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper. In addition, the Aggies were ranked in the top 25 for the first time in school history.
With his focus on hitting as a New Mexico State assistant, Godri helped the Aggies crack the top five in several NCAA offensive categories including hitting, runs scored, stolen bases and home runs. He also coached another future major leaguer in Jason Rackers, who would go on to play for the Kansas City Royals. While with the Aggies, Godri coached under current North Carolina State head coach Elliott Avent who was named National Coach of the Year in 2003.
After three seasons at New Mexico State, Godri spent one season as an associate scout for the Cleveland Indians. He then traveled to the University of Utah where he assisted with the pitching staff for two seasons.
Godri played his collegiate baseball at Colorado State and Chipola Junior College in Marianna, Fla. After finishing his degree as a graduate assistant at the University of Pittsburgh with his Bachelor's Degree in Education, Godri went on to receive a Master's Degree in Marketing and Management from New Mexico State.
Godri and his wife, Michelle, reside in Linfield, Pa.