As the 153rd season of Villanova baseball dawns, Mulvey can look back on a productive first year as head coach. He and the rest of the program’s coaching and support staff immediately set to work on developing a positive culture that was centered on the complete student-athlete experience. The results of that focus paid immediate dividends from the standpoints of academic achievement, community involvement and alumni support.
The baseball team had a record 25 student-athletes named to the BIG EAST All-Academic Team for the 2016-17 academic year, while the team as a whole achieved a grade-point average above a 3.0. Individual honors include 2017 senior Todd Czinege being named to the Philadelphia Big 5 All-Academic Team, while he and classmate Hunter Schryver were among 10 national finalists for the Senior CLASS Award which recognizes a student-athlete for their success in athletic competition, academic success and community service.
Mulvey has instilled in the baseball program a commitment to giving back to the community. He and other members of the team make regular visits to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia throughout the year and have participated in several other athletic department initiatives. Mulvey also started the Baseball Service Weekend in his first year as head coach, in which the Wildcats dedicated a weekend during the spring season to a team-wide community service project. This will continue for a second year in 2018, as Villanova will partner with the Phillies the weekend before the start of conference play to hold a youth baseball clinic in Philadelphia.
Another new initiative Mulvey has started is the Villanova Baseball First Pitch Dinner, an unofficial kickoff to the start of the baseball season which brings together the current student-athletes with alumni, fans and other supporters of the baseball program. The keynote speaker for the 2018 event was Phillies Senior Adviser Larry Bowa, and more than 150 attendees packed the O’Dea Terrace in the Talley Athletic Center to help the Wildcats launch their 2018 campaign.
Mulvey’s first year as head coach had no shortage of positive storylines on the field. He mentored two players – infielder Todd Czinege and pitcher Hunter Schryver – who went on to be selected in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft in June. Schryver was a seventh round pick of the Tampa Bay Rays and was a first team All-BIG EAST selection after a season in which he had 91 strikeouts and the lowest ERA (2.44) by a Villanova starting pitcher in more than 20 years. Czinege was a 29th round draft pick of the Colorado Rockies after finishing his collegiate career ranked second in school history with 244 career hits.
A roster with a modest veteran presence and several underclassmen who were thrust into significant roles showed its promise during the 2017 season. Villanova won its first conference series against a Xavier team which went on to win its second straight BIG EAST title, and the Wildcats also defeated nationally-ranked St. John’s on the final day of the regular season to cost the Red Storm the regular season title and the top seed in the conference tournament. Villanova also notched wins over Big Ten programs Iowa and Rutgers during the 2017 season, and defeated Army West Point in a renewal of the longtime series between the Wildcats and the nation’s oldest service academy.
Mulvey continued to work with the Villanova pitching staff during his first year as head coach. The selection of Schryver in the MLB Draft continued Mulvey’s streak of having a pitcher ascend to the professional ranks in each of his five years as pitching coach. Left-handed pitcher Woody Bryson was signed by the New York Yankees as a non-drafted free agent in June 2016, while Mulvey previously mentored a trio of pitchers who were chosen in the draft. Those pitchers included Pat Young (2013, 13th round); JB Kole (2014, 8th round); and Max Almonte (2015, 16th round).
In 2015 the Wildcats had a staff ERA of 4.14, which was nearly a full run lower than the previous season and was the lowest team ERA overall in the past 20 years. One of the top performers on the 2015 staff was right-hander Chris Haggarty, who saved nine games and held opponents to a .194 batting average. A former walk-on to the baseball team, Haggarty finished his collegiate career ranked second in program history with 80 career appearances. He also ranked seventh in school history with 11 career saves and eighth among pitchers with at least 100.0 career innings with a 3.78 ERA.
Villanova’s 2014 pitching staff lowered its ERA by more than a quarter of a run from the previous year and had a number of noteworthy individual performances. Left-handed pitcher Matt Meurer was a second team All-BIG EAST selection after making 28 appearances and recording nine saves with a 1.21 ERA in 44 2/3 innings.
Mulvey pitched parts of seven seasons in the professional ranks and returned to campus in 2013 to begin his coaching career. In addition to his four years as an assistant coach Mulvey coordinated the program’s nationwide recruiting efforts in 2015 and 2016, and oversaw the academic progress of the Wildcats student-athletes as the coaching staff’s liaison to the Office of Academic Support.
Mulvey pitched for the Wildcats for three seasons (2004-06) and registered the most strikeouts (222) in a three-year span in school history. He also threw the eighth no-hitter in school history as a sophomore in 2005. Following his junior season, he was selected by the New York Mets in the second round with the 62nd overall pick in the 2006 MLB Draft. He became the first Villanova player ever to be selected with a team’s top draft pick.
Mulvey pitched professionally in the organizations of the Mets, the Minnesota Twins and the Arizona Diamondbacks. He pitched in the major leagues for both Minnesota and Arizona, logging 10 appearances and starting four games. In the minor leagues, Mulvey appeared in 143 games with 130 starts and tallied 35 victories while pitching more than 750 innings and striking out 547 batters. During his first full season of professional ball in 2007, Mulvey was named a midseason All-Star in the Double-A Eastern League and was also selected to pitch in the Futures Game which takes place during Major League Baseball’s All-Star Weekend. He wound up being a 12-game winner for the Binghamton Mets in 2007 and, at the end of the year, made his Triple-A debut with six scoreless innings of two-hit ball.
Mulvey and his wife, Athena, make their home in King of Prussia, Pa. They are the parents to a six-month old son, Jack.